Sir Bruce Forsyth had such a long career in showbusiness. He began when he was aged just 14 and after becoming a star in the 1950s through the ITV series Sunday Night At The London Palladium, he went on to host game shows like The Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right and The Price Is Right.
The entertainer told me at one of many meetings: “You know Ann, showbiz is a funny game because you rely on the public, and I have been so lucky they have enjoyed my work. I truly owe it all to them, and without them I would have not enjoyed such a fun career.” What a star.
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Strictly Come Dancing’s Kristina Rihanoff tells me she has launched her own range of ballgowns for the Pia Michi label. She said: “My collection is about elegance and confidence. But of course I know people love glamour, and I hope that they still remember the all-important sequins too.”
Actor Craig Charles has said he doesn’t want to make a Red Dwarf movie – saying it works better as a sitcom. A film version of the long-running sci-fi comedy was announced as long ago as 2000 but has never come to pass. Craig tells me: “I think that time has now passed, but again who knows in the future?”
Birds of a Feather is to return for a new Christmas special. The commission is expected to be officially announced by ITV in the coming weeks. However, star Lesley Joseph told me that she is looking to reveal all for dedicated fans. “We get asked about it all the time, and I am so glad it’s still so popular,” she said.
Strictly’s Karen Clifton tells me that she is of course ambitious, and her dancer husband Kevin is very competitive too. “I think it works well for us, I mean we are not perfect, but I know we watch each other like hawks on the show, to see who gets the most points,” she said.
Emmerdale’s Anthony Quinlan tells me that should the acting work dry up then he has a plan. “I really want to run my own gym and teach there,” he said. “I have numerous friends in the fitness industry who want to come on board. I definitely think it will become a reality for me at some point.”
Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale has said he will miss his role as a coach on ITV’s The Voice, but labelled it a ‘great experience’. A source at the ITV talent show tells me: “He failed to radiate any real interest and did not connect with the viewers, so sadly it will be just one series for Gavin.”
Former Bake-Off host Sue Perkins says she agreed to a stint on Celebrity Big Brother during a career lull. “I said yes and then in many ways regretted it, but not many people remember me on there, so that is a bonus,” she said. “No, I would not be doing it now would I, but back then it was okay.”
Channel Four’s Great British Bake Off has received a wealth of warm reviews, but an insider on the cooking show said: “We must keep up the momentum and make sure we do our best, as the fans deserve and expect so much from it, but for now we are happy with the first few weeks.”
Miranda Hart’s mother Dee embarks on a tour of beautiful British gardens and tries to instil a love of gardening in her daughter for a new show on More 4. But it may have helped that her daughter also owns the production company that makes it, along with fellow comic David Walliams. So not quite that hard to get it commissioned then...
Alison King is to return to Coronation Street this Christmas as Carla, but she has no idea as yet if she will reclaim her crown at the factory. “I think it’s her natural home in many ways, but maybe she has a new challenge and why not, she has won the lottery ... there are so many things she could do now she is back,” she teased.
The BBC is making a one-off drama about Morecambe and Wise’s writer, Eddie Braben. ‘Eric, Ernie and Me’ is written by Neil Forsyth and will air on BBC Four. In the biopic we go behind the famous velvet curtains to see the blood, sweat, and tears that went in to keeping the whole nation entertained. It will be on air this Christmas.
Comedy legend Barry Cryer’s hit book ‘Mrs Hudson’s Diaries’ by him and his son, Bob Cryer, will be adapted for a Christmas special. Mrs Hudson’s Radio Show follows Sherlock Holmes’s landlady, and Barry told me: “I am so pleased that it took off as it’s quirky, but that is all comedy I think. But this is just daft fun.”
Emmerdale actor Matthew Wolfenden has played David Metcalfe since 2006, and before that was seen on stage in Saturday Night Fever. He tells me he has no plans to leave the show, because: “It’s the best place to work and you cover some great storylines that you would not get anywhere else. I do miss stage work for sure, but again we have so many great challenges here, why leave?”
Sir David Jason has no intention of stepping away from the small screen, saying “acting has been my life”.
“You know Ann it’s a bonus to get paid to do this,” he said. “What is there not to like? I have enjoyed so much success, I don’t want to give it up, but I know one day it will give me up for sure.”