Michael has a Ball starring in the smash musical Chess at the London Coliseum

Michael has a Ball starring in the smash musical Chess at the London Coliseum

Michael Ball OBE maybe starring in Chess the musical right now, but he tells me he regrets one he turned down. 

“I wish I’d done Sunset Boulevard in the West End, but I turned it down,” he said. “I’d done all the workshops for it, but they cast an American. I was miffed and then when they came to me, I was daft and said no. Huge regret, but again we all make mistakes don’t we?” Catch Michael starring in Chess until June 2...

Strictly’s Claudia Winkleman is the highest paid female presenter at the BBC, but won’t discuss money, telling me she is amazed she still gets booked for shows. “I do think they will find me out, but for now you just have to keep hoping they don’t as it does get me out of the house a bit,” she said.

Britain’s Got Talent was watched by over a million fewer people than watched the equivalent instalment last year. ITV blamed the recent warm weather, while many feel the format and indeed judges need refreshing. One fan told me: “Who can remember the winner from last year?”

Coronation Street baddie Jim McDonald will get out of jail, after being locked up for armed robbery and make an “explosive” return to Weatherfield later this year. Charlie, who first played Jim in 1989 and last popped up as the hardman in 2014, tells me: “It’s always nice to be asked back.”

Zoe Ball has confirmed her Strictly Come Dancing return. Her new hour-long ITV talk show was commissioned for 46 episodes and if it runs straight through, that means it will end in mid-September, just in time for Zoe to host her weekday Strictly treat on BBC Two.

The Chuckle Brothers are to return to television with a new series. Chuckle Time will see the duo appearing on Channel 5 later this year, with 12 hour-long episodes expected to be broadcast in the autumn.

As rumours continue to circulate about the future of your favourite Strictly Come Dancing stars, Kevin Clifton has revealed some career news. He told me: “I don’t worry too much, as you have to have a second string and mine is running a property investment business with a friend. That means whatever happens I have some income.”

EastEnders stalwart June Brown has signed a new contract to remain on the show, believed to be for a year. Her current contract ended last month and the actress told bosses that she plans on going nowhere. June tells me: “I can’t afford to retire, plus doing this keeps me very busy.”

X Factor host Dermot O’Leary tells me his worst on-air moment was “When I had to fill in for 10 minutes on T4 after Elton John’s piano broke at Party in The Park. I’ve never ever watched it back, I can’t bring myself to do it. I know it’s out there, but even now dare not watch it.”

The Good Karma Hospital will keep its doors open for another year. ITV’s medical drama only finished its second series recently, but the channel has already commissioned six more episodes. ITV also commissioned the second run a day after its series one finale in the spring of 2017.

Sad news for fans of Nadine Coyle, as she has cancelled her entire upcoming tour. The singer had previously announced a UK and Ireland tour that would have seen her perform a selection of Girls Aloud’s greatest hits alongside her new solo material. But it appears that her fans were not excited as she was to tour, with many venues not selling out.

Comedian Dawn French tells me that: “We never close the door on French and Saunders. There are no immediate plans because Jennifer and I both are booked up into next year. But the minute there is a window of opportunity, we’ll be in there!”

Former Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan has said “never say never” about a return to the cobbles. The actress, who now plays a soldier in the BBC drama Our Girl, played Tina McIntyre in the ITV soap between 2008 and 2014. She told me: “I always say that I’d love to go back to Corrie, I was always a massive fan of Coronation Street growing up and I’ll never say never.”

Paul Hollywood might be having a great time over in the UK with the new Great British Bake-Off team, but not everything is going as well Stateside. Paul took over Mary Berry’s American baking shoes last year, to judge the inventively-named Great American Baking Show, but it’s now been axed due to low ratings.

S Club 7 singer Hannah Spearritt is returning to EastEnders as Kandice Taylor. After appearing in two episodes last year as the rich sister of Karen Taylor, the 37-year-old star will be heading back to Albert Square later in 2018.

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