The first weekend of a new month and its time once more for our Monthly ‘Rewind’ editorial with Mike Watkins as he looks back over showbiz highlights and lowlights of January 2019.


Debbie McGee on Cancer surgery

The broadcaster and wife of magician Paul Daniels spoke last month about her cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The 60-year-old, who hosts a local radio programme for the BBC and became one of the hit celeb dancers in the 2017 Strictly Come Dancing, had two tumours removed in late January after cancerous tissue was discovered in her left breast.

She believes the illness was brought about by stress following the death of Paul in 2016 at the age of 77. The magician who entertained millions of viewers from the 1970s to the 1990s, with his prime time weekend magic show, died of a brain tumour. The pair had met in the early 1980s when she became his ‘lovely’ assistant for his stage and TV shows.

“Grief hits you in so many ways you’re not expecting… Stress, I think caused mine. I’ve never been through the stress I’ve been through since I lost Paul,” – Debbie McGee speaking to The Sun

The lovely Debbie McGee.

The Gimme, Gimme, Gimmie performer hit out on social media at the Duke of Edinburgh following his road traffic accident. Burke took to Twitter the day after the smash, which left occupants in the other car with minor injuries, noting how the 97-year-old royal was a “selfish c***” following the crash near Sandringham, Norfolk.

The 54-year-old Harry Enfield and Chums actress told her followers, “Very pleased that the 9 month old innocent baby wasn’t killed or injured by the 97 year old selfish c**t.”

The duke wasn’t injured during the incident which saw his Land Rover overturn. A nine-month in the hit Kia car was unhurt, however the driver and passenger, the latter who has been in any paper or TV show going, with her compensation-face on, suffered minor injuries and were given hospital treatment.


Videos bring back memories for Babs

Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell spoke how the Carry On and EastEnders performer continues to watch the comedy films and episodes of the BBC soap opera to help her recollect the past. The 81-year-old actress has been dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease since 2014. ‘Scott recently opened up about how the disease had led to Barbara not recognising him on occasion, but he’s since stated how she became emotional watching an old Carry On film over Christmas.’ The Metro paper reported, adding, ‘the cast of EastEnders and Scott set to run the London marathon to raise money for Dementia Revolution in her honour.’

Mitchell will join the EastEnders running team – aka Barbara’s revolutionaries – which includes Adam Woodyatt, Emma Barton, Natalie Cassidy, Jake Wood, Kellie Shirley, Tanya Franks, Jamie Borthwick and Jane Slaughter.

Dementia Revolution was created by Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK as Charity of the Year for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Dame Barbara Windsor still has a sparkle.

Dan Doherty blown off by the BBC

Telly chef Dan Doherty has been axed by the Beeb following The Sun newspaper’s report that he had asked a inappropriate question to a fellow member of staff where he worked as a chef. The tabloid noted that Doherty had been banned from The Royal Oak gastropub ‘for a month’ while an investigation was carried out into allegations he asked a female member of the staff to perform a sex act. One can only imagine that he’s never asked Mary Berry, his co-host on Britain’s Best Cook, to lick his rolling pin.

“In the wake of the recent newspaper reports, I’ve decided to step away from series two of Britain’s Best Home Cook. I loved my experience on the show and wish it every continued success.” adding “I want to say sorry. There are mistruths in what was published but I have made mistakes, mistakes I truly am sorry for.”

He should really have waited to ask at the Christmas party, when highly rude offers of lewd encounters flow, along with various backsides being flashed – or is that just at the ATV Today office? And before anyone starts on taking claims of sexual allegations seriously, if it was a proposition its not the same as being grabbed by the tit, and while Loose Women sit there comparing men to dogs and have half-naked models wandering on set to be perved at the feminists can hardly hark hard done to.


Loose on Tour?

Following their disastrous 2018, to mark their 20th year of tedious tittle tattle talking, Loose Women is set to go on the road. Sadly not a one-way route to oblivion.

The Sun reported that ITV are planning a live UK tour which is being billed as An Evening With Loose Women. The tabloid suggested the stage version of the gossip slot would feature all the regulars such as Janet Street-Porter and Andrea McLean with debates that follow the lowbrow format of the daytime series. Well let’s hope its more successful than Coleen Nolan’s solo tour, which was canned following only a handful of tickets being reportedly sold across several venues.


Sad news shared by Kirsty-Leigh Porter

This monthly look back at news is often flippant and shallow, but there are stories at times that we share in the most serious of terms, and sadly this is one of them. It was heartbreaking news on January 29th when former Emmerdale and Coronation Street actress Kirsty-Leigh Porter announced her baby girl had been born stillborn. Kirsty-Leigh, who is currently a regular on Channel 4 saga Hollyoaks took to social media to break the sad news to her fans.

“Our beautiful baby girl, Penny-Leigh Barber was born sleeping on the 21st of December 2018 at 6.49am, 29 weeks & 3 days young… My heart has never felt pain like it. Sleep sweetly our angel. We will always love you. Love your Mummy & Daddy. My Everything.”

The actress and her partner Paul had announced they were expecting their first child back in November.


Actor Sean Ward talks porn addiction

Irish magazine HER ran the headline ‘Corrie actor Sean Ward discusses porn addiction that made his hair fall out’. Now from that you, like I, may have thought blimey he must have been wanking a lot to pull out all his pubes, but it seems it wasn’t quite too much tugging that had balded his bush.

The actor spoke how being addicted to pornographic material not only gave him, he thinks, alopecia, it also caused weight loss. His love of a wank to video filth began he said while he was filming abroad and being away from his girlfriend left him with little choice but to turn to virtual titterlation.

“It’s different for men because of the release of energy. I started getting alopecia and started losing weight.” – Sean Ward, quoted by HER magazine

The actor said on his return to the UK his addiction got worse, which saw him turn to drink. The actor is now hoping that his debate about sex addiction will reduce the stigma surrounding the topic, while we all now look at bald men in a different light, and avoid shaking their left hand.

Sean Ward, far left, gets some strange looks from fellow Corrie actors. Did they know he loved a good tug?

Rewind Quickies

[] Beeb bosses came under fire when long running quiz show – produced by ITV Studios for the BBC in actual fact – University Challenge dropped the traditional Christian term Anno Domini or AD from a question about Christianity replacing it with the more ‘politically correct’ CE aka ‘Common Era’. The move comes as apparently the Latin terms are ‘offensive’ to non-Christians. Well everything can be offensive to someone, people just need grow some balls and not be so touchy, maybe like they were in the old days say 1200AD…

[] Gemma Collins fell flat on her face during another performance, if you can call it that, on Dancing on Ice. The z-list without any notable talent proved at least she can fall as gracelessly as she speaks.

[] Actress Tina Malone revealed she may be up in the dock for contempt of court after sharing images on social media of James Bulger’s killer John Venables. The 55-year-old could face up to two years in jail for sharing up-to-date photographs of the now grown up child killer and general scumbag. Venables and Robert Thompson murdered two-year-old James Bulger in 1993 and upon their release were given new lives and names to protect their identity

[] Politics Home report that Diane Abbott, one of the Labour party’s shining stars, who could be in line as a replacement for Rachel Riley on Countdown should the latter ever decided to quit, has announced she may boycott BBC One’s Question Time following snide remarks from new host Fiona Bruce – which the Beeb have apologised for – and the lack of chances she had to speak without interruption on her most recent appearance on the show. See if only they’d got Kay Burley to host it, Bruce is better of sticking talking to Antiques… but enough about the House of Lords

[] Emmerdale actor Steve Halliwell, who plays Zak Dingle in the ITV Yorkshire produced saga, announced that he will be back on screens ‘soon’ after undergoing heart surgery last September. Steve has played Zak in the village dales based soap since 1994. Prior to this he played four different characters in Coronation Street between 1984 and 1994.

Steve Halliwell, who plays Zak Dingle.

Big Brother House bulldozed… sort of

Despite the planning permission running for a couple more years, and the production company desperately looking for a new channel to host the series, it looked like it really was goodbye Big Brother as the Elstree Studios house has been finally demolished… or has it?

The Mirror newspaper brought the sad news to reality telly fans however despite the drastic headlines on inspection of the Elstree Site the only part of the Big Brother compound ‘demolished’ is the part that regularly changed over the years – the audience area. The buildings of the house set up are still very much there. And it seems the producers are still ‘in talks’ for a Big Brother come-back. The most recent network announced for a new UK series of the show is Netflix.

Last year’s Big Brother bedroom.

What’s Happening With Katie Price This Month?

In January Katie announced she was going on full-Madonna mode by adopting a Nigerian orphan. Speaking to ITV’s This Morning she revealed her plans to expand her family, she is currently a mum to five children. But in true council estate fashion, to many different fathers. Reminds me of Waynetta Slob ‘I want a black baby because everyone else on the estate has one’…

“I’ve always said I wanted to adopt a child and I don’t care if they’ve got a disability or what age they are. I feel I can offer a place.”

In true Katie fashion she’s finding this child via a women in a nail salon. Seems legit.


Corrie writer Jonathan Harvey picks up gong

Coronation Street writer Jonathan Harvey picked up The Writer’s Guild Award for Serial Drama for his scripts that saw Aidan Connor commit suicide and David Platt reveal his rape ordeal to Shona Ramsey.

Both episodes proved rating winners for ITV while the content gained much praise from organisations concerned with rape and suicide respectively. The world of soap fans also lauded praise on ITV Granada for the episodes concerning the plots. Singer and actor Shayne Ward portrayed Aidan giving viewers an emotional ride with his final harrowing scenes which lead to a wider debate on male mental health issues while Jack P. Shepherd as David brought male rape issues to ITV viewers and again raised awareness of help and support for others in a similar situation

50-year-old Harvey has been writing for Coronation Street since 2004. He also gave BBC One viewers sitcom Gimme, Gimme, Gimmie and has written for shows such as Tracey Ullman and Big Brother Panto.


Media Movers

Dominic Ball is now editor of BBC Business and Economics Unit, replacing Jasmin Buttar. Dominic was previously editor of the Six O’Clock News on BBC Radio 4. Adam Postans joins the Beeb as a local democracy reporter as part of a BBCfunded scheme while ITV has appointed Natalie Edwards as senior entertainment producer for This Morning to book famous faces for the sofa as well as bring in showbiz exclusives for the show. 

Staying with This Morning. January was farewell to senior news producer Hattie Hamilton who has departed ITV after three and a half years. Hattie is moving to Sydney, Australia.  BBC News Online has appointed Tom Bateman as a senior video journalist, CNN International has named Maya Ninel Robert as senior analyst and Simon Mayo, Angelica Bell, Chris Rogers, Mark Kermode, Goldie and William Orbit are all joining Scala Radio. It launches in March.

Bauer Radio has appointed Brett Spencer as digital content director. BBC Reporting Scotland has hired Steven McCaul as a broadcast journalist. Steven previously served as news editor at Kingdom FM. Sticking with the Beeb BBC Three has appointed Natasha Preskey as a senior journalist, writing and editing online features and BBC Northern Ireland has hired Michael Sheils Mcnamee as a journalist.

Loose Women has appointed Luke Chilton as news booker, Luke joined from his role as a journalist on The One Show. ITV News has appointed Andrew Dagnell as acting head of newsgathering while ITV News’ managing editor Robin Elias has left his position. Robin worked at ITN for 38 years and has now retired from journalism and BBC West has appointed Bethan Evans as a senior journalist.


EastEnders drones on

EastEnders has been taken to task by professional drone experts following scenes featuring Phil Mitchell launching one in Albert Square.

The BBC One soap – which you may still be pleased to know isn’t hitting the BARB top 10 programmes – was knocked for the scenes as its illegal to fly a drone in a ‘built up area’ Of course, I would say in defence of the Beeb production, Phil Mitchell isn’t one for exactly sticking to the law.

Pilot Andy Dubreuil alerted the Civil Aviation Authority, claiming it set a bad example after Decembers alleged drone mayhem at Gatwick Airport. So is setting fire to a car lot and killing a tramp, but Phil Mitchell does these kind of dubious things.


Rewind RIP

It was goodbye in January to actor Windsor Davies best known for BBC sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and ITV comedy Never The Twain, musician Eric Haydock best known as being the bassist with group The Hollies, Martha Ross the one-time background extra on EastEnders who was sacked for leaking plots and is also the mother of Jonathan and Paul as well as farewell to composer Michel Legrand and actor Jack Carr who is best remembered as the third performer to take on the role of Tom Merrick in Emmerdale Farm back in the 1980s.


Picture of the Month: A Metro Train

We can’t wait for the Metro documentary series to air. It may even arrive on screen quicker than one of the trains, which on my way to work today had its daily early morning cock up due to a failed train.

This is the transport operation that tarted up its stations, spending millions, while the 1970s failing old trams rattle on. Which leads me to a slogan suggestion for Tyne and Wear Metro: “Enjoy delays in much more attractive surroundings”


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