Tamzin Outhwaite took the call asking her to re-join EastEnders in the New Year after nearly 16 years away from Albert Square.
She told me: “I couldn’t say no, the show was so good to me career-wise, and people do return to the place they grew up in, fictional or not. Plus the comeback storyline is so good I could honestly not refuse, and I was thrilled they even thought of me.”
Strictly Come Dancing fans may be rightly furious about not being able to get tickets for the live shows every Saturday night, but I can reveal many tickets are held back for the stars’ friends, family and hangers-on. A source reveals: “We do hold quite a few back, but if they don’t show they are not invited again, rest assured.”
Good Morning Britain weather forecaster Alex Beresford is relieved it is no longer a secret – he is joining Dancing On Ice. But I can reveal ITV are hoping to build him up as a future face of the channel, and have him host one of their game shows. The former Asda store assistant admits: “It was just a dream to get on TV, and now it’s all coming true.”
ITV has commissioned an eighth series of Cold Feet. The comedy-drama returned last year after a 13-year gap, and the latest series achieved a consolidated average audience of 5.1 million. Six new episodes will go into production next spring in Manchester for broadcast later that year.
Coronation Street viewers were scratching their heads in confusion as Robert Preston suddenly turned grey and appeared to “age 20 years” overnight. Tristan Gemmill, who plays the character, simply decided to drop the hair dye as: “I really got fed up with having to do it and they tell me that the silver fox look is now in, so maybe people will like it.”
TV and radio host John Humphrys would never subject himself to the ordeal of being a contestant on Mastermind. He tells me: “I love the show, but only from a hosting point of view. You do feel for them at times, but the drama of the show is wonderful, and yes many times you do will them to win.”
Dawn French’s slimmed-down physique has had everybody talking, especially when she made a recent appearance on TV, but she laughed off rumours that she has had a face lift. “I know I did laugh, but it’s all down to great snappers because if you saw me up close you would know it’s simply not the case,” she said. For the record she does look good up close, though.
Ross Kemp has spoken to me about his award-winning documentaries and reveals: “It’s odd that despite all the informing we have done with these type of shows, I know the one thing I will be remembered for is simply playing Grant Mitchell. Don’t get me wrong, I love him, but you know this stuff is far harder and more shocking.”
Award-winning actress Katherine Kelly rose to prominence as Becky McDonald in Coronation Street. Since leaving the ITV soap she’s tackled diverse TV roles in dramas such as Mr Selfridge, The Best Possible Taste, Happy Valley and Class, but she tells me that she would now love to move more into comedy. “I do like a laugh and being a Yorkshire lass, well you know, we find the fun in everything, so yes fingers crossed something like that happens soon,” she said.
Gillian Taylforth has opened up about Harry Reid’s impending departure from EastEnders as Ben Mitchell, and admits she was “absolutely shocked” when she heard that the actor was being written out. She said: “I think it’s weird as I am his TV mum, and after years of me being away he now leaves me, which could only happen in a soap, right?”
Miranda Hart has said she is “going to be very funny” when she becomes the first female to act as sole host of the Royal Variety Performance later this year. TV bosses have perhaps decided against having a ‘funny’ host and gone all PC, but they hope also people will tune in because they have enjoyed her in her TV sitcom. She admits: “I am bound to be nervous.” We all are, for you dear.
Coronation Street’s Jack P Shepherd tells me that while people say the soap is now more violent than ever, it’s simply not the case. “The show was like this way back in the 60s, but again its social media that highlights things,” he said. “There has been plenty of scandal in the Street for years, without a doubt.”
Denise Van Outen may have faded from view on our TV screens, but she says she wants to return to acting rather than presenting. “I know my background is simply lads’ TV stuff in many ways, but I also trained as an actress and singer, so ideally I am looking down that road now, something wicked and a bad girl would be good as they are the best to play.”
Shobna Gulati played Dev Alahan’s wife Sunita in Corrie, leaving the soap in 2013 when her character was killed off. Now she’s returning to the world of soap in Scotland’s River City. “I play a character called Farah who’s arrived in the area with her man AJ,” she said. “She has a history, as they say, but I think people will warm to her. I do love this show though, as I am a big fan of Scotland.”
Dame Judi Dench’s new film Victoria & Abdul has done little business at the box office, with many wondering if there are simply too many films out about the Royal Family. A friend inside the Royal Household tells me that while they ask to see many films privately, so far this is one that’s not been requested.
Maybe they know the ending?