Leading actor Robert Powell, along with Skippy star Liza Goddard will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth, and the start during her reign of Christmas as we know it today.
Robert tells me: “The idea is to look at what she achieved and how she shaped the world of Christmas that we know today.” The esteemed thespian, who starred in many hit dramas including The Thirty Nine Steps, added: “I think it reminds people of what the festive season is all about, and what we are celebrating.” Check Robert’s website for dates and details.
Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls is back for a brand-new series in 2018, and the line-up for the latest series has just been revealed. Clearly on a tight budget. the biggest name they can muster is Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet and EastEnders fame, followed by ex-Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett. Channel Four state that it will be “a glittering occasion”.
Take That star Howard Donald will swap performing with his bandmembers for rebuilding classic cars in a new Channel 4 series. The pop star will join retired racing driver Dario Franchitti for Mission Ignition, which will see amateur car enthusiasts tasked with rebuilding classic cars, in a bid to win the motor. It starts this autumn.
Craig Revel Horwood is to voice a snake in new animated comedy series Sadie Sparks. The sharp-tongued Strictly Come Dancing judge will lend his voice to “snobbish and snidey” Cornelius in the show, which launches on the Disney Channel next year. Craig said: “The role of Cornelius couldn’t be further from my own persona.” Right Craig...
Mr Revel Horwood also recently unveiled his new waxwork at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. The waxwork will go on display at Madame Tussauds in the resort and Craig told me: “I thought it was a joke at first, but I love it and I think it’s so lifelike, honestly I could not be happier with it.”
All the cast of Men Behaving Badly apparently want the sitcom to make a comeback, 20 years after the last episode was screened. Actor Neil Morrissey says he, Martin Clunes, Leslie Ash, and Caroline Quentin would be up for a revival, if writer Simon Nye was to come up with the script. Neil added: “I think it would be fun to see where they all are now in their lives after all this time.”
Al Murray is working on a new TV pilot idea, in which he hosts a quiz. Few details are currently known about Al Murray’s Pub Quiz; however a not-for-broadcast pilot will be filmed soon. Advertising for a studio audience, producers Avalon say: “Join Al Murray as he turns real ‘pub landlord’ to host a pilot for a TV pub quiz show, filmed in front of a small audience.”
Sir Elton John was approached about an X Factor judging role, but was too busy ... however you may recall that Sir Elton has been vocal about these type of shows in the past, so maybe that had something to do with it. But the good news for Simon Cowell is that Louis Walsh, who was ‘let go’, remains available should the seat remain empty.
Writer Derren Litten has ended months of speculation by confirming that Benidorm won’t be returning, dashing the hopes of fans.
TV bosses have pulled the plug after the show failed to dent the ratings, despite the expensive talents of Dame Joan Collins attached to the cast. Benidorm will now go on tour as a stage show later in the year, and they hope it may get picked up again by another TV channel.
Coronation Street star Malcolm Hebden, who plays busy-body shopkeeper Norris Cole in the ITV soap, has no idea when he plans to return after a bout of illness. “I miss the show and the people, but I know I have to look after my health, and that is what is coming first,” he said. We all miss Norris though, don’t we?
Green-fingered Alan Titchmarsh has revealed he was forced to have knee surgery because of years of bending down doing gardening. He said: “It just catches up with you, but I have enjoyed all my gardening stuff and I don’t want it to stop, so I am glad I had the surgery.”
Michael McIntyre is returning with a new, even bigger version of The Big Show this year. The series will be back for eight shows in its longest-ever run. Michael will host the series which will be recorded in front of a live audience at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Michael tells me: “I can’t believe it as we know it’s loved, but now this and a Christmas special too ... wonderful news.”
When it comes to silver foxes, they don’t come much foxier than actor Tristan Gemmill, who plays Corrie bistro proprietor Robert Preston. It’s almost a year now since he stopped dying his hair, and he tells me: “I just got fed up with doing it, it’s so time consuming and more than that, I thought it added something to the part with me now silver, so that was it really.”
Channel Four is set to bring back the children’s version of The Great British Bake Off - although Nadiya Hussain may not return as a judge. C4 has relaunched almost all facets of Bake Off since landing the brand from the BBC in 2016.