Who would have thought that Basil Brush would be still down with the kids of today?
The fox, who has met just about everyone, is headlining with appearances at festivals across the UK, including Glastonbury. Basil told me: “I love the idea of connecting with my fans, and slightly older fans, plus a festival in a field is really my natural home, you see Miss Ann...”
Check out Basil via basilbrush.com. © Maycon Pictures
ITV is to pilot a new panel show format involving comedy impressionists. The Imitation Game will be hosted by Alexander Armstrong and feature four impressionists. Describing the show as ‘fast-paced’, the producers explain: The Imitation Game is a new comedy panel show with a celebrity twist. If successful it will be on air later this year.”
Steve Coogan has announced that he is bringing Alan Partridge back to the BBC. Signalling it was more than just a special, he added: “There will be a lot of Alan on TV next year.” Mr Coogan, though, of late has been very busy campaigning for the Labour Party.
New Environment Secretary Michael Gove is a fan of Radio 4’s The Archers. He told me at a London studio: “It’s the one show that I never miss, I always imagine that one day we could live there and yes I know it’s not real, but one likes to escape from time to time...”
Anyone remember the creepy late-night ITV show Tales of The Unexpected? TV insiders tell me that bosses are very keen to bring it back as “people enjoyed the dark stories that the show covered, plus it’s great for many guest stars and very easy to sell worldwide.”
Channel Four’s youth drama Ackley Bridge shed more than half a million viewers, despite a massive marketing push. Now insiders at the channel tell me that they are hopeful the new figures will hold and it may return for a second series. The show was filmed in Halifax earlier this year.
Coronation Street is being reinvented in a series of prequel novels. HarperCollins has signed a three-book deal with ITV Studios for the prequels, which will be set before the show began in 1960 and will “tell the story of the early lives of the iconic matriarchs of the street”. ITV are hoping that the books will become a best-seller in time for Christmas.
Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch tells me he has many happy memories of appearing in the Yorkshire TV show ‘Heartbeat’. He said: “It was a great experiment, and to film up there was wonderful, plus it was a huge break for me at the time, so I will always be grateful for it and yes, I know it still gets repeated quite a lot.”
Casting directors at Emmerdale are looking towards a 90s pop star to shore up the hunks in their soap, after Coronation Street signed up Shayne Ward and Hollyoaks cast Duncan from Blue. A friend reveals: “This ensures our audience tune in to see their one-time favorite pop star, and watch for that reason.”
Richard Wilson of ‘One Foot In The Grave’ fame tells me that one of his favorite episodes was when they had Carry On actress Barbra Windsor in the show. “She played my love interest and we had such fun on set, there were many others, but she was a gem of a co-star,” he said.
Tenor Alfie Boe was honoured in his home town with a blue plaque at the Marine Hall in Fleetwood as part of BBC Music Day, in front of family, friends and fans. Alfie tells me: “It’s such a thrill, I mean I started here at the hall collecting tickets for the Houghton Weavers, so to get my own plaque, well does it get any better than that?”
BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce tells me that while she loves delivering our news, she mostly gets asked about the clothes that she is wearing on screen. “I think it’s wonderful in a way that people notice you have tried, but in an another way, I think just take note of the news!” she giggled.
EastEnders are looking at their low ratings despite the cost of making the show going up each year. Recent episodes rate at well under four million, but bosses on the show claim that since the Omnibus edition on a Sunday was axed a few years back, they have struggled with momentum.
Coronation Street actress Cath Tyldesley hints she has not given up her music career, despite her last single failing to dent the charts. She said: “I will always be making music as it’s my dream – well, one of them – but right now I am very busy playing Eva, and yes there are big things planned for her. It will all start towards the end of the summer, and I can’t wait.”
Actor Hugh Bonneville tells me that the benefits of playing Lord Grantham are: “People loved the show so much and it helps in restaurants and on airlines, as they actually believe you’re posh and want to upgrade you. Who am I to argue?” he laughed “but I do tell them I am more than happy where I am too...”
Former Strictly Come Dancing diva Louise Redknapp has sold her make-up brand Wild About Beauty after £1.7million in losses. The one-time pop singer had high hopes for the brand which she launched back in 2010, but a friend admits: “She did not really have a high enough profile for this kind of venture.” The brand will continue now, having been bought out.