News in Brief: Pam Royle, Ant & Dec, Shane Richie, Sharon Gless and Roy Cropper

The second outing for our new series of weekend news round-ups in brief with ATV Today’s Mike Watkins.

This week I’ve got facelifts, country music Shane Richie style, a Tyne Tees TV legend and her cancer awareness, Ant and Dec top another poll and I’ll be avoiding a roll with Roy Cropper.

Sharon Gless to guest star in Casualty

Following the 30th Anniversary ‘One Shot’ series finale, BBC One today announced that Britain’s longest running medical drama will return later this Summer, starting with a two-part episode set in France. The story sees Dylan (Will Beck), David (Jason Durr), Louise (Azuka Oforka) and Alicia (Chelsea Halfpenny) head to a refugee camp in Northern France to offer medical assistance.

Shown over two weeks, the story centres around Dylan who bonds with twelve year old Sanosi and his sister Mariam at the camp and later finds himself in a difficult situation over their future. The episodes are written by Dana Fainaru and Dominique Maloney, directed by Steve Brett and were filmed in Fishguard and Cardiff.

Succeeding the two-part series opener, episode three of Series 32 will be an extended 70 minute special as the results of the inquest into Scott’s (Will Austin) death are finally made public. Later in the series Cagney & Lacey actress Sharon Gless will join the cast for an episode as Zsa Zsa Harper-Jenkinson, a maestro of surgery and former mentor to Dylan.

“I’m a rabid Anglophile. Some of our finest American TV is British. Zsa Zsa is a wonderful character and I hope you all enjoy her too” – Sharon Gless

Shane Richie goes country

Recently a tabloid reported how former holiday camp entertainer, turned game show host, turned actor, Shane Richie is taking up country music as his next adventure. The one time EastEnders favourite, according to The Sun, has put his telly acting and presenting career behind him to go all Glen Campbell on us. Although Glen of course is a huge country talent. Shane is possibly just a huge [edit]…

The Sun said of the 53-year-old ‘Richie is no stranger to being a singer after starring in stage musicals including Boogie Nights and Grease.’

However previous albums have failed to prove a hit with his recordings in 1997 and 2000 both failing to appeal to music lovers. He did have more luck with a charity single in 2002 – it peaked at number 2 in the UK charts. The cover of Wham’s I’m Your Man was released for Children In Need.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of new country. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to record this album. I can’t wait to share my music.” – Shane Richie quoted by The Sun.

Shane Richie starred as Alfie Moon in EastEnders, sadly.

Katie Price Weekly

A weekly watch of one of our favorite telly personalities. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Antony Cotton and Roxanne Pallett ATV News turns to the one and only – thank God – Katie Price. What’s our darling of the television screen been up to this week?

This time we have the exciting news that one of Katie’s faces has had a face lift, to the tune of £5,000. Speaking on Loose Women – where else – the personality told viewers, she’d had the work done to lift her sagging cheeks and jawline. All that talking about her private life to the press and ITV viewers I’m surprised she had anything sagging around her mouth the excercise it gets.

How Long Is Yours?

I’m talking your lunch break. Obviously Jeremy Kyle viewers need not answer that as eating between filling in the DSS work log isn’t really a job. Apparently, so we were told this week, lunch breaks consists of 30 minutes of eating limp sandwiches and surfing gossip sites according to research. A study found that the majority of people are failing to take a break throughout the day with only two in ten (22%) Brits surveyed managing to take a full hour for lunch. The research has found that over three quarters of Brits (79%) said they do not dedicate a full hour for their lunch break, with the average office worker taking less than 30 minutes for lunch.

British workers admitted to spending their 30 minute lunch break at their desk surfing gossip websites (48%) updating their social media profiles (19%) and booking holidays / trips away (10%).

“We want to remind people that lunch is not just important as a way to refuel, but that it also gives people the chance to take a break and see something different. We are encouraging people to find that sometimes elusive patch of grass and make time at least once a week for a  lunchtime treat, whether finding the time to relax or switching the soggy sandwich for something more exciting” – Kettle Chips® spokesperson, Kizzy Lilburne

The study by Kettle Chips® also reveals that variety isn’t the spice of life, as 8 in 10 people (88%) admitted to eating the same lunch week-in-week-out whilst at work, with sandwiches being far and away the most popular within the group surveyed. Now of course having a decent meal at lunch time could come down to cost…

Roys Overpriced Rolls

Speaking of which one which I didn’t manage to fit into last week’s edition was the shock and indeed horror viewers to Coronation Street suffered via a blackboard promotion in Roy Cropper’s café. The Sun reported that ‘eagle-eyed fans were quick to spot the extortionate pricing of his sandwich special’

It seems Mr Cropper is more Arkwright from Open All Hours, than we’d given him credit for after he was seen to be charging a staggering £4.95 for a brie and rocket sandwich. Now, to be fair, we’ve not seen this delightful sarnie offering from Roy, so how do we know its not VFM? It could after all be 2ft long and filled to the brim…

Roy has a big expensive roll, so legend has it.

Honey G falls out the loosely closed closet

Something that is never value for money, nor is there any redeeming talent or fame quality – Honey G. The skid-mark of showbiz that just won’t wash away. Now it might have come to a surprise to some but Honey G is Honey Gay. The Metro paper informed the four people who probably cared that the X Factor contestant, of dubious quality, had announced that she is a lesbian. The free newspaper noted that the ‘rapper’ kept her sexuality a secret as she was worried about homophobia.

‘I do worry about homophobia [but] I feel now is the right time to let everyone know that I’m gay.’ – Honey G in the Metro paper.

Now is possibly also the right time to sod off pet…

TV Highlight of the Week

This week there was good news that Channel 4 have apparently dropped The Jump. I personally think the show should carry on, but should only star politicians taking on the dangers of icy ledges…

Anyway the best on the box this week came courtesy of ITV (if you live in England and Wales) STV (if you’re in Scotland) and on UTV (those of you in Northern Ireland). Yes they have many names, foof, fanny, ladybits and so on. But This Morning gave us the term ‘wizard’s sleeve’ for a vagina. 53-year-old June Smith mentioned the term when discussing her many, many, many former younger lovers. I’m not going to make any jokes that the show is usually hosted by two Jeremy Hunts…oh…

Tyne Tees Television’s Pam Royle raises Skin Cancer awareness

“I was horrified that something that looked so innocuous could have turned out to be potentially deadly. I wasn’t so much frightened for me but what it could mean for my family. It was a terrible time.” – Pam Royle speaking to the BBC

Broadcaster Pam Royle, best known for her three decades of newsreading with ITV regional company Tyne Tees, this past week announced she had been diganosed with skin cancer, in hope to raise awareness and inspire others to have any medical concerns checked. Pam, who has also worked as a news reader for London Weekend Television and a continuity announcer for Central Television, in the Midlands, was diagnosed with invasive melanoma last August after finding a mark on her leg. Following surgery it’s believed the cancer has been caught and isn’t likely to spread.

Royle, who lives near Darlington, and began her career with Tyne Tees as a weather presenter, urged viewers with new or unusual marks to get them checked. ITV Tyne Tees has also across the week in its North East Tonight evening programming aired special reports concerning melanoma to raise awareness across the region.

“I’ve always loved the sun and when the children were small and I was juggling my career, I’d use sunbeds before going on holiday…Skin cancer travels very quickly so if you see something even slightly unusual don’t ignore it – go to see your doctor.” – Pam Royle speaking to the BBC

Pam Royle has been raising skin cancer awareness on ITV Tyne Tees.


  • Ex-Corrie and Our Girl star Michelle Keegan and The Dark Night actor Tom Hardy have topped a poll which places them as the nation’s male and female fitness idols. The survey carried out by training and course provider, found 45% of Brits are using celebrities they see on social media and in the media to inspire them to get fit this summer. Keegan topped the female choice with 33% while the male choice was Hardy with 26%.
  • 5 News has named Lauren Clarke as Assistant News Editor. Lauren previously served as a Reporter at Daily Star. Over at the beeb Senior Economics Producer for BBC News, Mark Broad, has become Business Editor across BBC News Online as well as BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.

  • Bookmakers William Hill have closed their betting on Anne Robinson & Matt Goss taking part in Strictly 2017 after a splurge of cash suggests they will be taking part. Hills originally installed Anne Robinson as a 33/1 shot – a price that was backed all the way into 6/1 before the bookies suspended. Matt Goss was also a very popular choice and he has also been removed from the betting.

“This is not a weak link and we would be very surprised if Anne Robinson was not confirmed as a runner for Strictly this year,” – William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.

  • Diana Vickers, X Factor and West End stage star, took centre stage at the launch of TodayTix’s Social Ambassador programme on Thursday. To celebrate the launch at London’s Hackney House, Diana Vickers hosted a question and answer session with the budding thespians to inspire and delight. Ahead of her upcoming role in Son Of A Preacher Man, Diana discussed her rise to fame and her background in theatre and why the younger generation is key to keeping the West End culture alive.
    “I have such a passion for theatre – it’s something for us to escape to. More and more we’re seeing theatre becoming increasingly more diverse, which is fascinating and I’m so pleased I can be a part of this evolving world.” – Diana Vickers

Bishop brings dames, bakers and spice to UKTV

John Bishop: In Conversation With… returns to UKTV screens in September and the broadcaster has announced some of the star and not so star names to grace his comfy set this year.

Its A-list celebs such as Hollywood icon Dame Joan Collins and comedy legend John Cleese rubbing chat show billings with the popular such as Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, comedian Jimmy Carr and former Spice Girl Melanie C. There is the touch of the interesting with Professor Brian Cox and former Corrie actor Craig Charles.

And then there is Katie Price. What is there left to say, surely we’ve had it all out on Loose Women? Others to appear this series include David Walliams and Samantha Womack. John Bishop: In Conversation With… will start on Thursday 14th September at 9pm on W.

John Bishop is set to talk to A list and Z list stars in his latest UKTV series.

Ant and Dec are the ‘best celebrity friendship’

Today is national friendship day, and to celebrate Ant & Dec have been crowned best celebrity friendship by parents in the UK. The results come from a survey for children’s brand Thomas & Friends.

The multi-award-winning comedy TV duo, who have been best friends both on and off screen for over 27 years since meeting on the set of children’s drama series Byker Grove, gained nearly 3 in 5 of all votes (58%) from 2,000 millennial mums and dads with kids aged 2-5 years old, who took part in the Thomas & Friends International Friendship Survey. This Morning host Holly Willoughby came second and third place in survey – her friendship with fellow host on the show Phillip Schofield received 34% of all votes in the runners-up position and her friendship with broadcaster Fearne Cotton came in third place with 18%.

The two other celebrity friendships completing the top 5 are David Beckham & Gordon Ramsay and Billie & Sam Faiers, which were both highly rated in the new study, which ran in 8 major countries and also questioned 12,000 parents about their views on their children’s first friendships.

The release of the findings has been timed to coincide with the UN International Day of Friendship today (Sunday 30th July). The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. The International Day of Friendship is an initiative that emphasises that the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence should be instilled in children through education. If children learn to live together in peace and harmony that will contribute to the strengthening of international peace and cooperation.


This week we saw the death of prolific Coronation Street writer Peter Whalley. The former English teacher penned over 600 episodes of Corrie as well as writing episodes of other Granada shows including The Jury (2002) and Albion Market (1985). It was also announced this week that former Diversity performer Robert Anker had died in a car crash in Canada. The 27-year-old was part of the dance group who won Britain’s Got Talent in 2009.

Plastic Pollution and we’re not talking Katie Price

And finally a serious note. Recently Surfers Against Sewage released a film narrated by the BAFTA award winning actress Imelda Staunton to highlight the scale of the plastic pollution in our oceans.

SAS has produced the chilling campaign film to show the emergence of the fictional dangerous super power, Wasteland. Whilst this is a creative interpretation, the reality is no less stark for all of our oceans. Throwaway and single-use plastics are items built for the speed of our modern lives, generally used only once before they are thrown away, landfilled or, worse still, released into the environment to make their way into our oceans and increasing the size of Wasteland.

The views expressed here are by the author and are not endorsed by ATV News, ATV Network Limited or Associated Television Network Limited. © Mike Watkins 2017
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