Mary Poppins star Zizi is Strictly Bonnie in a brand-new West End musical

Mary Poppins star Zizi is Strictly Bonnie in a brand-new West End musical

Zizi Strallen was recently performing in Follies and will soon be seen in Strictly Ballroom at the Piccadilly Theatre. 

She also may look familiar, as her aunt is the super-talented Bonnie Langford, but she told me at the Café De Paris in London: “I never thought about another career as it’s all I know, I grew up in theatre and I do love it. My favourite role was of course Mary Poppins, I mean we all love to fly even on a wire don’t we?!” Fans may also note that she appeared in the ITV show Britannia High 10 years ago, which aped the behind the scenes of The X Factor...

Has Catherine Zeta-Jones forgotten her Welsh roots? Not at all as the Darling Buds of May actress (who used to film the show in Leeds) reveals: “I still speak Welsh at home and I have taught Michael some too, but no I would never ever forget my roots. It’s my heritage for goodness sake!”

Coronation Street rising star Lucy Fallon who plays Bethany in the soap, admits she was shocked at her recent National Television Award win. She said: “I think people assume you know, but honestly I had no idea, and looking back you can tell that. What a thrill, I never expected to get that far with it all.”

Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan Cole has denied rumours that his waltz with HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was the real reason that he was axed from the hit BBC show. The professional dancer left the programme in January after 14 years. His PR team, simply state this is all “nonsense” and that he is now busy with his own tour. Oh dear!

BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty tells me that she takes notice of what people say about her fashion sense on the show. She said: “I think some of the comments are a bit harsh, but again it’s an opinion and it’s only when you see the outfit on TV do you think, sometimes, maybe this is not right for the job ... (laughing)”

Emmerdale actress Emma Atkins, who plays Charity Dingle and has done so for 18 years, tells me that she still loves the character but is stunned that fans still do. She said: “I do wonder how much more evil she has to be before they do get fed up with her, but its been great so far and I hope they keep her for a long time.”

Hi-De-Hi star Jeff Holland tells me that there was almost was a film made of the famous holiday camp TV show, but it was the creators of Croft & Perry that vetoed the idea, claiming they felt it would use all the jokes up in one 90-minute film. Jeff added: “I think it was a mistake as the fans would have loved it, but it ended at that point. But yes, what fun it would have been.”

Chat show host Graham Norton has written his second novel, a ‘twisted tale of family secrets’ entitled A Keeper. To be published in October, it follows his 2016 bestseller Holding and his earlier autobiography. Graham tells me: “I think, well, hope this could be the next phase of my career.”

The Emmerdale theme tune was written by music maestro Tony Hatch, but he admits that so many of his tunes were hit TV themes he sometimes has to double-check if he in fact wrote it! He said: “The 70s were a hugely busy time, and I would get a call, say, to write something for a series, and while I loved them all, I do have to check from time to time...”

The re-boot of Porridge has been axed after just one series. BBC chiefs have confirmed that there are no plans for a second run of the new version, in which Kevin Bishop played the grandson of Ronnie Barker’s original old lag, Norman Stanley Fletcher. Although six new episodes were written, it failed to capture viewers in the same way as the original.

Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan O’Carroll has said he is delighted to be shedding a bra for his new role – as a quiz show host. Brendan, best known for his Mrs Brown alter-ego, will present ‘For Facts Sake’ – a twist on his famous catchphrase – for BBC One. He said: “It will be still the same fun and frolics, but this time I won’t be dressed as Mrs Brown.”

Former EastEnders star Harry Reid is to make his stage debut in Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution. The soap actor, whose character Ben Mitchell left Walford last month, will play Leonard Vole in the new cast of the production. No word on if he will take his long-lost mother Kathy with him too...

Until his retirement at the end of 2016, former Look North presenter Jeremy Thompson was one of the longest-serving journalists and news anchors in the UK. During a 40-year career in television news, he gained a reputation as the consummate broadcaster, latterly as the anchor of Sky News’ early evening programme. Now he has a new book out called ‘Breaking News’. It’s a great read and covers many stories that readers will all remember.

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