Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole tells me he really believes he could be on a winning streak this year with his partner Charlotte Hawkins.
Talking at the top-secret location in Covent Garden where they rehearse, he said: “She is putting in a lot of effort and enjoys it, which is the main thing. I never know who I am going to get – some have been great, and some well not so, but I don’t forget any of them, including Lulu...”
Doctor Foster star Suranne Jones has promised that it all may not be over for the couple just yet. She said: “I think the writing has been amazing and fans have got behind the series which has been great, but could we come back for a third series? I know I would love it if possible, but it’s not really down to me to be honest, it’s the writer.”
Matt Le Blanc has just signed with the BBC to host another series of Top Gear, and revealed that he still wants to act, but now people assume he is more of a presenter. “You have to remember that there is a whole generation of people who have grown up not watching Friends, so they have no idea who I am as an actor,” he said.
Cat Deeley tells me that she wants to make an SM:TV reunion with Ant and Dec happen. “We’re all super busy but the three of us have been talking about it, and everyone wants to make it happen,” she said. “Everything will come back exactly as it was; there will be Pokemon jumpers, me as ‘Cat the Dog’ and, of course, Chums. It will be fun turning the clock back 20 years and seeing ourselves young again.”
TV chef James Martin spent a decade hosting Saturday Kitchen, and while he is back on screen in a weekend slot again he tells me that viewers watching his new show will not see any similarities. “It would have been easy to replicate it, but we’re doing something different, less stress and more fun,” he said. “I do miss the old show, but I was given a chance to try something new and I just hope the fans like it now.”
Strictly Come Dancing star Ruth Langsford admits the training is tough when you’re doing the show, Loose Women and This Morning. “In many ways I am grateful for the distraction as dance does take over your life, but I am truly loving it all. Anton is so patient,” she said.
Former Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher has denied that he is on his way back to the soap, telling me: “I do miss acting and all that, but right now I have another focus in my life after being in the soap for so long. I am not ruling it out though in the future. Never say never...”
Former EastEnders actor Shane Richie has told how he turned down a record deal from Simon Cowell, after revealing his musical talents to the nation. He said: “I was thrilled but at the same time worried as I knew having a big hit single could just be a one-off, but you can always look back and wonder, can’t you?”
James Norton is as busy as ever with a lead role in the remake of the cult 1990s classic Flatliners, co-produced by Michael Douglas, and a starring role in the new BBC series McMafia, which is being hailed as the new Night Manager. He tells me: “The opportunities just keep on coming, and yes I am thoroughly enjoying them, but rest assured I am not leaving Grantchester or the role of Sidney Chambers any time soon.” Good.
Lord Alan Sugar has insisted he would find the money to keep popular shows on the BBC, like The Great British Bake Off, if he were to be made director general. “I think it was madness given the success of the show to let it go, but yes if I were running the BBC things would be rather different,” he said.
Remember the hype from Strictly Come Dancing when disgraced royal butler Paul Burrell was ‘in secret talks’ to join the show. The team tell me that was never the case and that it was his spin team who were associating him with the show. And with Camilla a fan, and a regular visitor to the show, it could never happen...
The Downton Abbey film saga rumbles on and Hugh Bonneville, who played Lord Grantham, says: “Everyone would like to do the film if we can, but it’s tricky. There has been a lot of goodwill from all of us, but logistically we are now so all over the place, but maybe one day it may just happen.”
Prince Harry’s actress sweetheart Meghan Markle has opened up about her favourite shows. “I watch a lot of I Love Lucy,” she said. “I downloaded two seasons of it for the plane, because they are easy and mindless to catch up on, plus I think it’s so timeless, I mean funny is just funny.”
Former Coronation Street actress Anne Reid is a powerhouse of British acting and tells me she would love to make more ‘Last Tango’. She said: “Derek, Sarah [Lancashire] and I would love to do it. But Sally Wainwright is writing Shibden Hall at the minute, and we can’t do anything without her. I keep saying to people, ‘write to Sally Wainwright, bombard her with letters until she gives in!’ Last Tango was the perfect job for me. We all loved it.”
Fiona Bruce reveals people sometimes get angry on the Antiques Roadshow when they’re told their stuff is not worth much. Fiona, who juggles the job with reading the news, admits: “I do feel sorry for them as I know I would feel the same as it’s important to them, but we hire the best experts, and they know their stuff.”
Emmerdale chief Iain MacLeod has teased an upcoming storyline for Jimmy King which will see the character try to emulate the success of his late brothers and father. He said: “I think it’s time we turned Jimmy’s life around and made him more like his brothers were. It’s a treat for viewers who like him but they now may also see another side to him, that of being a ruthless businessman...”