I caught up with the mega-talented Michelle Gayle at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford recently, where she was starring in the great new musical ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ with songs from the brilliant Dusty Springfield.
Michelle, who found fame in Grange Hill and EastEnders and also became an international pop star, tells me: “The show is a riot of fun with tracks we all know, plus we have choreography from none other than Craig Revell Horwood and even he gave us a 10!”
Michelle added: “It’s a great show and highly recommended.” Check out dates at www.sonofa preachermanmusical.com.
Poldark star Aidan Turner, who is appearing on stage in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, tells me he will stick with the show until the end as he loves it so much. “I think people want me to stay and see it through all the stories, so I am more than happy to, and who knows what the future holds?”
Dead Ringers star Jan Ravens is working on a Radio 4 sitcom pilot about the private life of the Prime Minister Theresa May. Jan reveals: “I thought about a 15-minute sitcom about the Mays at home. The idea is based on them in the Downing Street flat when they kick off their shoes.”
Carry On actress Fenella Fielding has received an OBE for services to drama and charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. The 90-year-old appeared in Carry on Regardless in 1961 and, most famously, in Carry on Screaming! in 1966. She told me she could not quite believe it as: “I never expected it, but what an honour truly for me to land such a thing.”
Good news – Father Brown will be back for a seventh series. Mark Williams, who plays the titular crime-fighting priest, will once again don the white collar for the daytime BBC One drama, based on the stories of GK Chesterton, who used Heckmondwike’s Father John O’Connor as the basis for his main character. They will start later this year...
TV actress Tamzin Outhwaite, now back in EastEnders, admits she returned to the show because she missed having a regular job. “I think when you have children it’s harder to move about, so right now appearing back in the drama suits me fine, and I did miss it actually.”
Hugh Grant’s decision to retire from rom-coms because he’s ‘older’ has been welcomed by many casting directors after his performance on TV as shamed MP Jeremy Thorpe. He reveals: “I think you must take a risk, and I did that with this, but hopefully a different style of role will now come my way after such a drama.”
Coronation Street’s Bill Roache is 86. But the actor, who has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap for 58 years, admits he still learns things on set from younger actors. “To think they are thrust into this big drama on TV and do so well makes me try harder, it really does. I don’t think you ever stop learning as an actor, it’s impossible not to.”
This year’s Strictly will be the first without professional dancer Brendan Cole. He was cut from the BBC show earlier this year, and claims it was all down to an ill-judged comment made in the first week of his last season. Brendan said: “I did make a quip, and it was ill-judged and yes I believe it was at that moment I got it wrong. I am sorry though.”
Dragons’ Den panellist and interior designer Kelly Hoppen tells me she had to leave the show because she was way too busy with her own designer business. “It was a wrench, but I do enjoy the show now from the comfort of my armchair, and without all that tension too,” she said.
Jeremy Vine is taking over from Matthew Wright as host of Channel Five’s daily current affairs show. Jeremy will kick off the show, which will have a new name, in September – and good news for fans of his Radio Two show, Jeremy will continue to host it. He reveals: “I am so lucky to be hosting two great shows, and the fans won’t miss out on anything, which is great news.”
John Middleton, who played vicar Ashley in Emmerdale, tells me there is not a day since leaving the show that he is not stopped to discuss his time on the soap. He said: “I think the show touches people’s lives in so many ways, and it’s only when you leave and meet all the people you realise how that happens.”
Alexandra Burke has cancelled her September concert tour due to ‘scheduling issues’. She was set to embark on a 13-date tour around the UK, performing songs from her new album The Truth Is, after recently ending a stint playing Svetlana Sergievsky in the West End revival of Chess.