Many of us love watching the hit daytime series Escape To The Country, and as the host of the show Denise Nurse tells me: “I think we all love a nosey around and see who is buying what.”
She added: “I love presenting the show, as I think deep down we all like the idea of escaping, and even if it’s only for an hour with a cup of tea, it’s a nice break isn’t it?”
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Son Of A Preacher Man is a new musical featuring the greatest hits of Dusty Springfield. Directed and choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood, and starring former Coronation Street and EastEnders actors Debra Stephenson and Ian Reddington, it will begin touring this autumn.
Soap actress Claire King has hinted that there could be a possibility for legendary character Kim Tate to return to Emmerdale. She told me: “I would never say never, but quite how she would come back I have no idea. I mean it’s amazing that people still love Kim Tate after all these years...”
Former Strictly contestant Laura Whitmore revealed to me she has caught the acting bug, and is enrolled on a course at top acting school RADA. “I think you just must go for it,” she said. “I mean I have seen it from both sides, the red carpet and now acting, so I am hopeful of some success for sure.”
Cricket hero Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff will make his TV acting debut in BBC One’s new Kay Mellor drama ‘Love, Lies & Records’ this autumn. And like fellow ex-sportsman Vinnie Jones, he has his eye set on Hollywood too. “I am hoping it leads to all kinds of things to be honest, I see it all as an adventure and will take it from there,” he said.
Eric Richard played the reliable, no-nonsense Sergeant Bob Cryer in The Bill for 17 years until he left in 2001 – and he is thrilled it’s now being repeated from the start. “There is not a day goes by when I don’t get asked about it, which is wonderful, but it’s odd looking at yourself on screen 25 years ago,” he said.
Dame Julie Walters says she refuses to work in Hollywood. She told me: “I love the place and it’s all very exciting, but I like to do other things than acting. Over there that is all they talk about, nothing else really, whereas I am thinking ‘shall I go to Waitrose?’”
Aled Jones is baffled why his early-morning weekend chat show is not repeated in primetime. He states without ego: “We have some great guests and a lot of fun, plus I am sure we will get bigger ratings if we did a repeat for a while in the early evening.”
TV’s Claudia Winkleman claims even though she lives in the centre of London at Marble Arch and is married to a multi-millionaire, she is “just rather normal, I mean I don’t need anything, not a great spender, and of course my work is my passion, so I get to go to all the best parties.” Forgetting to add ‘for free’...
One-time comedian Helen Lederer is among the celebrities to enter the 2017 Celebrity Big Brother house, and she admitted to me she will consider any reality TV show simply because “I have bills to pay and they normally pay quite well, so I think why not? What exactly can go wrong?!”
Remember the big ITV late 90s drama Hornblower, which starred Ioan Gruffudd? He tells me he would love to see it return as “It was a real boys’ own adventure, and people really loved that aspect of it, yet I am way too old now to take on the main role ... maybe this time the captain?”
Simon Callow is to make a second series of his sitcom The Rebel for UKTV Gold. Also returning are Bill Paterson as former hippie Charles, Anita Dobson as charity shop worker Margaret, and Simon tells me: “I love the fact it’s set in Brighton and he is a badly-behaved pensioner who simply loves doing all the wrong things all the time.”
Sean Wilson joined Coronation Street at the age of 19 in 1985, playing nurse Martin Platt for 20 years, before leaving in 2005. He tells me he would love a return to the role, even for a short stint. “I think given the Platts have such a centre stage on the show, and it’s my name, it would make sense. Yet no offers, but you never know do you?” he said.
We can now look forward to seeing even more of Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, who will reportedly return to co-host the revamped Dancing On Ice, with out-of-work soap stars and athletes. A source reveals: “They feel it’s their show and jumped at the chance to return.”
Ryan Hawley, who plays Robert Sugden in Emmerdale, admits that he has no idea where his character gets all his money from. “I think he has a great car, house and always money to go to the Woolpack, so yes it’s a good point. Maybe he got left lots of money we have yet to find out about,” he said.
He’s best known for his leading role as Captain Ross in Poldark, but now Aidan Turner has tuned model and signed with Dunhill London for suits, ties and shirts. Aiden recently admitted he likes the suited look, but can often be seen pictured in a tracksuit and loafers. With this mega deal on offer things will now have to change...
From Cagney & Lacey to Casualty! Sharon Gless is appearing in BBC medical drama Casualty in a special guest role. She told me: “I see the show back home in the US and they heard I loved it, so that is how the role came about. I think you will like my character, she is kooky and fun, which is always great to play.”