Jason Donovan has many guises – star of stage and screen, radio DJ, actor and performer. In his latest tour he tells us about the highlights, opportunities and obstacles of being all those things, with a few of the songs we all love thrown in.
“I can’t believe I have reached 50, Ann, so I figured I will go out there and answer questions about my life so far. The things the fans want to know the most,” he said. “I can promise one exciting night.”
Look out for dates starting this October.
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A new drama is heading to BBC Two, documenting one of the juiciest rivalries in Hollywood and promising to be packed full of glamour, wit, glitz and grit. The eight-part series, called Feud: Bette and Joan, stars award-winning actresses Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange as they take on the roles of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford to document the Hollywood stars’ legendary rivalry.
Ruby Wax is to appear in Who Do You Think You Are after she begged the BBC to probe her family tree. In 2013 she claimed she had been rejected from the show, after producers told her that “They already had too many stories about concentration camps. But now we are all good, and I am happy to say we’re going ahead with it. I really can’t wait to find out more.”
The BBC has ordered a second series of Peter Kay’s compilation show, Comedy Shuffle, made by Kay’s company Goodnight Vienna Productions. Six more half-hour episodes have been commissioned and will air on the flagship channel this month.
Carol Kirkwood has revealed that she has slimmed down after developing a love of running and dancing. The BBC Weather presenter told me she lost almost a stone and dropped two dress sizes while competing on Strictly Come Dancing in 2015. “It’s the best workout, honestly, and so much fun so after I lost the weight, I just kept on and thankfully none has come back so far,” she said.
Former Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman will return to TV screens on a new family game show called Partners in Rhyme. Insiders tell me that it’s a mixture of the Generation Game and many other fun quiz shows. “It’s good fun family entertainment, and hopefully it will be on a Saturday night, so fingers crossed with that,” Len chuckled.
The recent final of Britain’s Got Talent slipped for the second consecutive year to become the lowest-rated concluding episode in a decade – despite peaking with over 10m viewers. Naturally, given this news Simon Cowell is promising big changes next year.
Amanda Holden has defended her frock choices which have angered many on recent Britain Got Talent shows. She told me: “I love to dress up and the outfits get people talking, plus in a few years I won’t be able to wear outfits at my age...”
TV chat show host Graham Norton thinks he has the best job in TV, with his own show. “I do wonder how I became so lucky, I mean I tried to start out as an actor but then progressed into this,” he said. “I do sit and look at the sofa with all the A-list talent and think ‘well, who got lucky then?’”
Emmerdale actress Sally Dexter (Faith Dingle) tells me she would love it if they staged a panto in the Dales with all the regulars in the cast. “As someone who comes from musical theatre, I do miss all that, but can you imagine a panto with the Dingles? I do think it would be great fun,” she said.
Former Coronation Street actor Lucy-Jo Hudson recently won Villain of the Year at the British Soap Awards for her performance in BBC daytime soap Doctors, but said she was a little perplexed to be in the category. “I never saw myself playing this kind of role, and really enjoyed it. I hope it leads to more ‘bad’ roles in the future.”
Al Murray is making his pantomime debut this Christmas. The Pub Landlord comic will play ‘Idle Al’ in Jack and the Beanstalk at the New Wimbledon Theatre in South London. Al tells me: “I have relented and decided that I will give it a go, simply because why not? I think I may be good at it too.”
Expect EastEnders actor Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell) to have another crisis again, around October time and disappear from the show, as he has signed on yet again for panto. A source tells me that many stars now want to do it, as it’s so lucrative they can make more in one month then they can in a year on the soap.
The Price Is Right is set for another telly comeback, with Alan Carr following in Brucie’s footsteps. Alan tells me that given the state of the country he expects lots of contestants to apply, as: “We all love free stuff don’t we? So yes, fingers crossed we get a full house.” ITV last revived the show in 2006 with I’m A Celebrity winner Joe Pasquale as host, but it was cancelled after just a year due to poor ratings.
Actor Danny-Boy Hatchard has spoken about life after EastEnders – revealing he is set to appear in a new stage adaptation of Oliver Twist. “It’s great being back on stage again and I think it’s good experience for all actors,” he said, though he hinted at a possible return to EastEnders in future. “You never know. I never say never, I never like to burn any bridges.”
ITV is sounding out Lambeth Council on plans to knock down and redevelop its iconic London Television Centre on the South Bank. The existing tower is 25 storeys high and is home to shows like This Morning, Loose Women and Good Morning Britain. No permission has been granted.