Russell ‘reBrands’ himself – this time as a chat show host

Russell ‘reBrands’ himself – this time as a chat show host

Russell Brand is to record a pilot episode of a new TV debate show.

The producers explain: “The programme puts Russell back where he’s best – face-to-face with the Great British public, as he discusses the issues that matter most to them.” A run-through of the format, which currently has the working title of ‘The Russell Brand TV Show’, will be recorded at Canada Water Theatre in East London.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton Du Beke may have blown his chances of ever becoming a judge on the show with his near-the-knuckle remarks and speaking way too much when at the judges’ table. A friend reveals: “It’s obvious he is not happy being overlooked for the head judge role, but if he keeps on at this rate that could be over too.”

Claire King has revealed the real reason behind her departure from Coronation Street. The actress joined the ITV soap as Liz McDonald’s man-eating friend Erica Holroyd but departed the show in August this year. She said: “I think in the end not having a family connection there, it’s hard for the writers to attach you to someone, and so you get passed around, which is confusing for the viewer, hence I decided to call time on the role.”

Former royal tray carrier Paul Burrell won’t give up his quest for fame on the back of his regal connections. He has now signed up to appear in the D-list Dancing on Ice, but it could be tricky as it will also feature Donna Air, girlfriend to James Middleton, who is of course Catherine’s brother. She has been told to keep well away from him to stop any pictures getting out which could look bad...

Strictly Come Dancing viewers got a surprise as EastEnders barmaid Tracey popped up in the audience. Actress Jane Slaughter – who’s played the legendary soap extra for years – dropped by the studios to support her co-star Davood Ghadami in the competition. But my spies tell me that bosses also had a quiet chat with her about the next series ... you read it here first.

Benidorm is being turned into a stage show that will tour the UK next year. Creator Derren Litten is working on a script based on the characters of his hit ITV show, although casting has yet to be announced. However, a website promoting the show says: “See your favourite stars from the Solana Hotel live on stage for the very first time.” 

The project was first reported in August, but it has now been confirmed that the stage show will debut at the Newcastle Theatre Royal on September 7 next year.

Former Coronation Street actor Ryan Thomas says that landing a role in Neighbours shocked everyone – including him. He said: “I had no idea if they would be interested or not, but we had a chat and then they told me the plot line, which was great fun, so when they offered me it, how could I refuse? It will be hard though filming on the other side of the world, but what an experience...”

Saturday night TV is set to get a new show. All Together Now, hosted by Rob Beckett, is a singing contest with a twist. A range of talented singers will take to the stage to perform in front of a unique panel of musical experts and performers from all over the UK. The confusing part is that ex-Spice Girl Geri will be on hand to offer advice and pointers, yet it remains to be seen if that includes the offer to help vocally...

‘The Chase’ star Anne Hegerty wants a role in Star Trek. The quiz champion is known for being one of the brainboxes on the ITV show, but she has admitted her ambition in life is to put the general knowledge behind her and move into acting, particularly with a role in the hit sci-fi franchise.

Simon Callow will release a two-disc album of his self-written solo version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which also marks the 175th anniversary of the classic novella. Callow is joined on the recording by national brass band champions the Brighouse and Rastrick Band, who will perform traditional Christmas carols. Simon tells me: “It’s wonderful, it’s the perfect Christmas gift and we all love a bit of brass and A Christmas Carol, don’t we?”

Victoria star Jenna Coleman puts on a dazzling display when out and about, as she told me at Claridges recently, but she admits: “Having worn all those regal clothes on screen for so long, I do think today’s generation have it so easy. It’s no wonder the rich had dressers and helpers, it would take ages to get going and just go out. Don’t get me started, I much prefer today’s fashions.”

As the host of The One Show, Alex Jones is no stranger to delving into the lives of her celebrity guests. And now as one the highest-paid BBC stars has landed her own show and will be exploring the ancestral mysteries of ordinary people on her new series ‘The Secrets In My Family’. It sounds very similar to ‘Who Do You Think You Are and she admits: “I am a nosey person, so it will be fun to find out family secrets, and we have some wonderful stuff in the show.”

Bringing back the Generation Game is inspired by the BBC ... or is it? Former host Jim Davison tells me that the show really was great fun “at that time, but people expect far more now and maybe the games won’t resonate like they did back then. I wish it well, I really do as I had a ball on it, but you know times do move along.”

Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed has crash landed onto CBBC with a brand-new look, the latest CGI 3D techniques and Freddie Fox as the voice of Beano’s much-loved mischief maker, Dennis. The 51-part action-packed adventure series features Beano’s dynamic duo bringing their high-energy humour and mischievous sense of fun to CBBC audiences.

Just like The Great British Sewing Bee – which has yet to be recommissioned by the BBC – The Great Pottery Throw down is made by Love Productions. You know, the company that took its baking show to Channel Four ... so guess what? The BBC has ‘no plans at present for both shows’. Fancy that.

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