Jamie Raven burst into the public gaze during the 2015 series of Britain’s Got Talent.
His magic amazed audiences and even made Simon Cowell exclaim: “I now finally believe in magic!” Jamie is preparing for a new tour next year and has just launched a range of magic sets. He told me: “If, like I was once, you’re a budding magician, honestly give these a go ... they will keep children busy and entertained for hours.” Magic.
© Maycon Pictures
Paul Merton has starred on Have I Got News for You for 27 years, but admits he still fears the axe. The 60-year-old star aims to perform as if each show is an audition for a permanent role. “I do think that you can get too easy-going about a long-running show, and yes, I always assume I could be replaced, which will happen one day, but hopefully not soon,” he laughed.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn looks set to follow fellow MP Ed Balls onto the ballroom dancefloor once his political dream is over. A friend tells me that he never misses the show and thinks it’s “a great way of reconnecting to the people who may wish to get to know you a little better.”
Doc Martin star Martin Clunes is set to appear in his first sitcom since the Reggie Perrin remake. He takes the title role in Warren, a BBC One pilot about an irascible driving instructor. Filmed in Cardiff this month, Martin tells me that the show is very funny and he hopes that it will be well received, adding: “I think anyone who has had a driving lesson has met a guy like this for sure.”
Coronation Street’s Tristan Gemmill has confirmed that Robert Preston’s new ‘silver fox’ look isn’t a continuity error. He reveals: “I just got fed up with the dye job and having to check for silver hairs etc, but as an actor you get asked to change your look all the time. So who knows, I may have to go back another colour on another job, that is the part of an actor basically.”
Likely Lads star James Bolam has denied there was any feud with his co-star Rodney Bewes, who died recently. Bewes once called his co-star ‘cruel’ for blocking repeats of their classic comedy and said they had not spoken since a fall-out 40 years ago. He said: “There was no fallout at all as far as I was concerned. We worked together very happily, and very well, enjoyed each other’s company, and when we finished, we finished.”
Shayne Ward is leaving Coronation Street after three years and does not seem that happy about his departure. A friend reveals: “Shayne dropped his music fans to join the soap and now he will need them back, but he also wonders if he still has that fanbase. Plus he hoped to stay with the soap for years, in fact he thought he had a job for life on the Street...”
Joanna Lumley is to embark on her first-ever live tour. ‘It’s All About Me’ will comprise 30 dates in Ireland and the UK in autumn next year. Her acting career includes Coronation Street, On The Buses, Dracula and as a brainwashed Bond Girl in Blofeld’s lair in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. She landed her breakthrough role as Purdey in the New Avengers in 1976, a part for which over 800 girls auditioned.
Grantchester’s James Norton tells me that even he is now getting fed up with all the James Bond stories about him. He said: “I would of course love to land the role at some stage, but right now I don’t think it’s possible and of course Daniel Craig has already agreed to do another, which is great news.”
Strictly’s Christmas special has become a staple of the BBC’s Christmas Day scheduling, and a huge ratings hit. Katie Derham, who appears in the show, tells me: “I was so excited when they asked me back and yes I jumped at it, but then it all sinks in again and there’s all that hard work, but what a treat to be back on the ballroom floor.”
Mary Berry the TV cook that “relates to us all” bought a £2.6million house back in March this year, but has yet to move in as she is having a few renovations. She said: “I want it to be the perfect home, and yes, some things take longer than others to fix, but I can’t wait to host some wonderful dinners there.”
Singer Elaine Paige is in panto this Christmas at the London Palladium, and admits that she loves playing the wicked queen in the show. She said: “It’s so much fun being evil on stage, and I love all that hissing and booing when I come on. Sometimes the adults are even worse than the children too.”
Early Doors, the pub-set sitcom written by and starring Craig Cash and Phil Mealey, is to return as a live stage show in 2018. The show will be staged at The Lowry in Salford from August 2018. The promoters say: “The Grapes Pub will reopen its doors for a limited season in a not-to-be-missed night of fun and laughter.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle look set already to snare the biggest TV audience of next year when they wed in May. A friend at the BBC told me that they had been planning the event for months, and although it will now be at the smaller Windsor Castle it will be “the biggest television event for sure next year...”
Dame Angela Lansbury has shown interest in a potential revival of Murder She Wrote. Reflecting upon the show, the 91-year-old actress said: “Jessica Fletcher had become so much a part of my life, it was difficult to come to terms with it being all over. “Having said that, there have been some two-hour specials since we stopped in 1996, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we got together just one more time.”
Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley has quit the hit soap, ITV bosses have confirmed. The actress will leave next summer and has arranged her exit with the show. It is believed she has quit to pursue other roles including serious dramas, and to pursue her singing ambitions too.
Len Goodman has revealed he watched episodes of Strictly Come Dancing while enjoying a bottle of red wine with his wife. He also said: “I think Shirley’s doing a wonderful job. I’ve known her for years, all her dancing life, I’ve judged her hundreds of times, I think she will be back for sure.”