The first weekend of November sees ATV Today take a look back over entertainment news from October 2019, with Mike Watkins casting his view over the proceedings.


There’s a few things that has disturbed not only myself but others here at ATV Today concerning the whole Jeremy Kyle Show goings on and the MPs findings. No media outlet, as far as I can see, nor the MPs themselves have pondered the fact that had the death of a recent participant not have happened this show, ITV Daytime’s highest rating, would still be on air doing all the things these in Westminster are now criticising as unacceptable.

What does it say about British society that it was deemed entertainment...

It raises many questions, more suited for a special documentary than the space we have here. However, a few things we can ponder. One such moment we can reflect on is the show pulled in over a million viewers – it does beg the question what does that say about British society when the format was deemed entertainment for so many years by so many viewers?

Also ITV were incredibly happy to keep it on air due to its ratings, social media presence and the tabloids who ran stories on the ‘horrors’ who had appeared on the show every day ranging from mocking teeth to the guests intelligence.

It all really leads to whether Ofcom are fit for purpose. This show aired for fourteen years under their watch. The TV regulator a far cry from the days of the IBA who could, and would, criticise and on occasions intervene on dubious programme content.

Hopefully as the proceedings continue this will be picked up upon.

On October 31st MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee noted that ITV had failed in its responsibility towards reality show contributors following leaked, unedited, footage of The Jeremy Kyle Show being screened to the gathering.

It should be noted that things listed probably didn’t need to be leaked – even edited programmes that aired contained similar issues, such as Kyle balling at guests like a common fishwife, participants running backstage (it became a fixture of the show) with no where to time-out from cameras and antagonising questioning.

Committee chair Damian Collins MP noted that scenes that shocked included ‘one contributor who was extremely upset take refuge backstage, only to have a camera thrust in his face’ and that Jeremy Kyle ‘would use provocative and sometimes abusive language, which would then be edited out’.  He continued that the raw footage made a ‘mockery of the aftercare’ ITV claimed to provide.

Pile of bile, The Jeremy Kyle Show.


On Monday 7th October renowned interior designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen brought his fabulous style to Shooting Star Children’s Hospices’ Battersea charity shop to celebrate a successful first year. Laurence and wife Jackie Llewelyn-Bowen have been stalwart supporters of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices for over 20 years. Laurence and Jackie won £500,000 on behalf of the charity in a special Celebrity Valentine’s Day edition of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire and also won £20,000 a celebrity edition of The Chase. In his latest offer of kindness Laurence donated some of his vibrant clothes to the Battersea charity shop.

Amanda Holden required an emergency operation while on holiday, The Mirror reported, after the Heart FM breakfast host broke her leg in two places. ‘The 48-year-old Britain’s Got Talent judge was tackling a Total Wipeout-style inflatable assault course when the accident happened.’ said the tabloid. The report she snapped her fibula in two places, while playing with her seven-year-old daughter Hollie. Lucky she didn’t bang her backside, that may have ruined her best asset.

Ralf Little is the latest to take the lead role in BBC One drama Death in Paradise. Little takes over from Ardal O’Hanlon who has been with the programme since its sixth series. The ninth outing will air on the Beeb in 2020. O’Hanlon and Little will both feature in the forthcoming episodes. Previous leads have included Ben Miller from series one to three then Kris Marshall from three to six.

Rebekah Vardy ‘instructs lawyers to carry out forensic investigation’ the Metro paper reported following the revelations previously by Coleen Rooney that Vardy was allegedly behind leaking stories about her to the press. The wife of Wayne Rooney had said she spent five months working whose social media account that had been giving out information from her personal Instagram page and the results lead to Rebekah’s account by blocking everyone else’s access apart from hers. Vardy hopes the investigation will discover who has had access to her Instagram after strongly denying she had any part to play in the leaks to the tabloids.

Emmerdale actress Sally Dexter departed the Yorkshire dales. However Dexter has said she’s firmly keeping the door open for a future return as she can’t resist being part of the Dingle clan. Faith left the village in the aftermath of Cain finding out that Moira’s paramour Nate is his son, with Faith having known that he had another son all along.

On October 17th Channel 4 opened its Leeds based National HQ. Leeds is the first of the three new Channel 4 bases to launch for business, with the new Creative Hubs in Bristol’s Finzels Reach development and Glasgow’s Garment Factory both opening in November – joining the organisation’s London HQ at Horseferry Road and Nations & Regions ad sales base in Manchester.

TV presenter, Emma Willis, made a surprise visit to the Shelter Emergency Helpline team in Sheffield on Tuesday, October 29th. Emma delivered bags of the new M&S Christmas Sandwich range to the Helpline advisors, the day before they officially launched in stores for customers. 5% of all sales from the M&S festive lunch range are donated to Shelter each year.

Queen, Universal Music Group, YouTube and Hollywood Records released three special fan-produced music videos created from more than 10,000 submissions from more than 120 countries around the world. The videos were part of the ‘You Are The Champions’ campaign, a user generated content project to create three brand new music videos to three classic Queen anthems, with the fans as the stars. The new videos for Bohemian Rhapsody, Don’t Stop Me Now and It’s A Kind Of Magic showcase the depth, diversity, talent and reach of the band’s fanbase. The videos can be found on the official Queen YouTube page.

The Beeb announced that Scott Mills will host a new weekly show on BBC Radio 5 live as part of a new weekend line-up at the station. The show will start on Saturday November 9th. Scott will be joined by Chris Stark every Saturday morning from 9-11am.

EastEnders actor Zack Morris spoke about being racially abused while walking to his car. Commenting on social media he said ‘To those who think racism is a thing of the past… Last night I walking through a car park to my car and was getting abuse from this random guy calling me a “N****” and “Uncle Tom” repeatedly.’ He added, ‘‘This is the sort of mentality that is still destroying our generation and it must stop.’

Social media was buzzing with the return of Richard and Judy to This Morning as one-off hosts to mark the magazine show’s 31st anniversary. The pair enjoyed it so much they’re reportedly open to future special event returns. It was great to see Finnigan and Madeley back in charge of the ITV Daytime programme, showing everyone else how it should be done. As our Telly Today said at the time; ‘no need for faux ‘cock-ups’ and forced laughter’.

We need more Judy and Richard on our telly.


Reunion tours and albums are big money makers for stars of yesteryear. However it seems money can’t buy you peace and quiet in the Spice Girl world and therefore, according to Extra Entertainment, future Spice Girls reunion tours are likely not to happen. Plans to send Mel B ‘Scary Spice’, Mel Chisholm ‘Sporty Spice’ Emma Bunton ‘Baby Spice’ and Geri Horner ‘Ginger Spice’ to Australia and Las Vegas are canned. Victoria Beckham declined to reform for the UK tour, she’s been far far far too busy pouting to join the gals.

It’s not the lack of Posh Spice however that’s put a halt to the arena tours. It’s down to, according to press reports ‘ongoing tension between Mel Brown and Geri Horner’. The Sun noted ‘Geri has refused to go back on tour with Mel B after persistent arguments since the group reunited.’

The paper added that the proposed Australian tour and Las Vegas residency could have potentially earned the group around £50million.


Graham Norton spoke in October how being stabbed totally changed his outlook on life. The actor, comedian and television presenter recalled how he was stabbed back in 1989 while still a drama student. The incident, that left him for dead, completely changed his life values the Irishman said.

Norton spoke out following an increase in UK knife incidents over the past two years.

‘The most formative thing that ever happened to me was getting stabbed… It gave me real perspective on life and what mattered. Before that, I was in drama school, caught up in the search for success… I nearly died. I’m just really happy to be alive”. – Graham Norton quoted in The Observer

He went on to note he felt knife attackers had somehow become dehumanised and had no care or concern for anyone. ‘What’s so sad about the knife crime’, he told the newspaper, ‘…is that everyone is a victim in the end. Because people are losing their lives and equally the kids stabbing people, their life is destroyed for nothing, for this stupid thing because they couldn’t get their heads around the consequences.’

Graham Norton, stabbing changed his life values.


Coronation Street, at a stretch we’ll call him ‘actor’, Antony Cotton was given an undisclosed amount in damages having settled his phone-hacking claim against News Group Newspapers. The body published the rebranded News of the World, that now operates as The Sun on Sunday. The company also publish the regular editions of The Sun.

Cotton plays gay stereotype, bitchy, badly dressed, po-faced Sean Tully on the long running serial. Cotton, referred to in court by his real name Antony Dunn, took action believing The News of the World and The Sun hacked his voicemails and used other dubious means to gain personal information to publish.

The operators of The Sun however said the payment made ‘no admission of liability in relation to… allegations of voicemail interception and/or other unlawful information gathering at the newspaper.” as part of the settlements.

In other legal news BBC News presenter Samira Ahmed has taken her employer to tribunal arguing she was paid far less than that of Jeremy Vine for doing a “very similar job”. Ahmed notes she was paid £440 per episode on audience feedback show Newswatch, while Vine received £3,000 per episode for Points of View. The BBC in defence have noted both programmes are actually different for several reasons including PoV is an entertainment slot while Newswatch is not. They add her predecessor, a male anchor, was paid the same as her.


ITV, Channel 4 and Sky are set to launch an ambitious health and wellbeing initiative to promote the importance of healthy eating and exercise for kids in a new three-year partnership.

With an airtime investment of £10m, the UK’s leading commercial broadcasters aim to reach 90% of UK children and help tackle children’s obesity by showcasing advertising campaigns such as Eat Them To Defeat Them and The Daily Mile.  The three main TV sales groups will launch multiple major on-air campaigns from January 2020 with the aim of helping 10 million kids lead healthier lives.

Across ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky, the broadcasters will build on the success of the Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign, which has previously run solely on ITV, with an ambition to change behaviour in the long-term and across all communities in the UK. The new Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign will launch first, in February 2020.


Broadcaster, writer and campaigner, June Sarpong MBE has been appointed as the BBC’s Director of Creative Diversity. June will lead a renewed drive to further transform and modernise the BBC and its culture. She will work to increase representation and ensure that the content reflects the public the Beeb serve.

ITN, producers of ITV News, Channel 4 News and 5 News, also announced Lisa Campbell as their new Director of Corporate Communications. Lisa joins ITN from the Edinburgh Television Festival, where she is CEO and Festival Director and has spent the last six years curating the most prestigious media Festival in the UK. Lisa takes up the role in January and replaces Sarah Vaughan-Brown, who left ITN earlier this year after 11 successful years with the company.

Broadcaster Bill Turnbull discussed last month how the UK should have a “proper conversation” about the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. The former BBC Breakfast presenter, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017, BBC News reported that Turnbull noted that cannabis is used for medical purposes in over twenty countries, he adds that the UK should be another to look further into its positive effects. Having been used for more recreational purposes cannabis was made illegal in the UK in 1928.

Channel 4 launched its first ever dedicated menopause policy, the first known among UK media companies, to coincide with World Menopause Day on Friday 18th October 2019. The new policy is designed to support employees experiencing menopausal symptoms whilst providing guidance to colleagues and line managers about how they can be supportive to those transitioning through it.

Carol McGiffin caused a social media ‘hoo-har’ after telling her Loose Women colleagues that she was prepared to stand in order to give an elderly person a seat but she would make no effort to offer it to a pregnant woman. ‘It’s not my fault – I didn’t get them pregnant.’ she told the ITV panel.

Reggae singer and song writer Bob Marley was honoured with an English Heritage blue plaque. The circular tribute has been erected onto the London home he lived at during his Exodus album years. Fans of Bob and his Wailers can find the sign at 42 Oakley Street, in Chelsea.

Former EastEnders actress Sandy Ratcliff died after taking an excessive amount of morphine while suffering from two terminal lung conditions, BBC News reported. The findings from her cause of death inquest noted how she had battled addictions for over two decades and died aged 70 in April, in sheltered housing in north-east London. Sandy had numerous telly credits to her name including Ken Loach’s Family Life in 1971, a stint in Crossroads in 1974-5 and her most iconic role as one of the founding actors in EastEnders from 1985-89.

Former Coronation Street actor Charlie Lawson spoke to RTÉ Radio 1 about how he is “very lucky to be alive” after suffering a stroke onstage in Edinburgh last year. Talking on the Ray D’Arcy Show Lawson, who played Jim McDonald on the ITV soap, said how he respects his life “a great deal more than I did before”. The 60-year-old was touring in a theatre play when he fell ill.

Louis Walsh proclaimed that Simon Cowell needed him back on The X Factor as a talent judge. Walsh who helped give the music world Boyzone, returned this year to the celebrity version of the series having being dumped from the show in 2018 with a reported £1 million payoff. Despite Louis proclaiming the show needed him, viewing figures have been at best ‘disapointing’ for ITV proving otherwise. Danny Dyer’s game show over on BBC One, The Wall, has even beat the show in the ratings. The X Factor has struggled for a couple of years to win the battle of the Saturday night ratings with seemingly viewers tired of the format.

The GC, aka Gemma Collins, told her surprisingly many fans last month how her family were so poor growing up she didn’t know what a toaster was. “Me and my brother Russell used to get our forks in the bread, put it on the gas fire and that’s how we made toast” she said on her BBC Sounds podcast. She also noted how she knows reality telly fame can come and go. “I’m like a little scurrying rat, in the background I’m constantly nails on the ground, chipping away chipping away, trying to build an empire.” Let’s hope she doesn’t bump into Roland he’ll be flattened.

Roland better watch out for The GC in his tunnels.


Births announced in October; The Jump’s Amy Willerton announced via a magazine deal that she is pregnant. The I’m A Celebrity personality is expecting her first child with fiancé Daniel Day. Former Neighbours actress and pop queen Natalie Imbruglia announced she’d given birth to baby boy Max. Former Tardis traveller David Tennant announced his 5th child with wife Georgia. Former Emmerdale and Corrie actress Hayley Tamaddon gave birth to her ‘miracle’ baby boy following years of being told she would never conceive. Hollyoaks regulars Nadine Mulkerrin and Rory Douglas-Speed have welcomed a baby boy, Reggie. Also  Westlife singer Mark Feehily became a first-time father with partner Cailean O’Neill, they welcomed baby girl Layla.

Deaths announced in October; It was farewell to television pioneer Reg Watson who passed aged 93, newsreader Peter Sissons died aged 77, Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell passed aged 55, Last of the Summer Wine regular Juliette Kaplan died aged 80, Doctor Who performer Stephen Moore died aged 81, stateside actor Robert Forster passed away aged 78 while fellow American star Diahann Carroll died aged 84. Singer Choi Jin-ri, who performed under stage name Sulli died aged 25, regular in TV series The Mighty Redcar Jade Smith passed aged 21 and BBC journalist Hanna Yusuf died aged 27.

October also saw the news Grange Hill actress Anna Quayle had died in August aged 86.


That’s just about all we have room for this time. Sadly there were just some things we’ve just not had time to talk about; such as how Channel 5 will take Home and Away off air for its winter break. The show disappears from screens at the end of November, returning in January. Neighbours will remain on air right through. We didn’t have time to look at how footballer Raheem Sterling has been awarded a Gold Blue Peter badge or the tabloid newspaper that was ridiculed for reporting how actress Katie Jarvis was working for a retail outlet while between acting roles. (It really isn’t anything unusual dear Daily Star).

There just isn’t time for This Morning founding host Richard Madeley saying he’d never take part in Strictly Come Dancing due to being, well, a terrible ballroom mover. Alas no space to discuss Gogglebox douchebag George Gilbey who was locked up for three months for drink-driving, the sentence handed down due to the dear heart already being on a community punishment order following a 2018 attack on his ex-girlfriend – the mother of his daughter. hashtag twat springs to mind, but we just don’t have time to go there.

One person however we always have time for is the delightful Sue Nicholls, who we are pleased to learn is back to fit and full health having revealed she broke her collarbone while trying to sit down on the side of the bed in the dark, missing it and falling to the floor earlier this year. The 75-year-old who plays Audrey in Corrie says she won’t quit the soap. However if the role had to come to a close she pondered returning to singing. Back in 1968 Sue had a top twenty hit with Where Will You Be? after it appeared in fellow ITV saga Crossroads. She played Marilyn Gates in the serial.

“If they ever got rid of me I might try doing other things – I’d love to go back to singing and get my voice trained again – just to do something. I wouldn’t retire …so if I get the sack I’ll lock myself in Audrey’s salon and refuse to leave.” – Sue Nicholls quoted by RTÉ


“Gary is losing the plot a little bit. He is unstable and out of control so whatever he gets up to next, nothing would surprise me.” – Mikey North

Mikey North, who plays Gary Windass in ITV’s Corrie, spoke about forthcoming events for his character following a PR that noted ‘Affairs of the heart take a dark twist this autumn as Gary make his presence felt, overshadowing more than one relationship.’

After losing Sarah to Adam, Gary is determined to take his revenge, and when Adam starts prying into Gary’s dodgy dealings Gary decides it’s time he took him down a peg or two.

Revenge isn’t the only thing on Gary’s mind, he’s looking for love again and when he sets his sights on Maria it soon becomes clear he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants. Maria and Ali’s relationship hasn’t been plain sailing and spotting signs of weakness Gary steps in and makes his move. Unaware of Gary’s darker side Maria’s flattered by the attention, seeing Gary only as a businessman and a great father to Jake.

Gary isn’t treading gingerly in forthcoming Corrie episodes.

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