The last Sunday of November sees ATV Today take a look back over entertainment news from the past month and while Mike Watkins takes a break TV Critic Vivian Summers casts her view over proceeding.


ITV released a statement following recent controversy surrounding This Morning Friday host Eamonn Holmes following accusations of the former GMTV presenter being ‘racially insensitive’.

“Eamonn Holmes was absolutely not reprimanded for his use of the word ‘uppity’.” ITV stated, adding; “Conversations took place with Eamonn and the wider production team involving an explanation of a possible interpretation of the word, which had come to light on the basis of a complaint made to the channel after the broadcast.” The broadcaster concluded; “Therefore this was a point of learning for the wider team, not in any way a rebuke.”

Holmes made the comments during a discussion about Meghan Markle.

“If you have an uppity attitude, you’re only through the door two minutes and suddenly you’re sitting at Wimbledon and your royal protection are saying, ‘No photographs, no photographs!'” – Holmes on This Morning

No reprimand for ITV’s Eammon.


Top Gear presenter Paddy McGuinness spoke out about ignorance over disabled parking bays. Following an incident in which the host was questioned over his use of such a parking area he said he was left angry. The Take Me Out anchor, whose six-year-old twins Leo and Penelope have autism, said he was dropping his children off at a play centre when he was confronted by a passer by over his use of a disabled parking space. ‘McGuinness admitted wanting to “bounce [him] off every car” but instead opted to “handle the situation calmly”.’ BBC News online noted.

Speaking on social media Paddy revealed more details. “The ignorance and sheer pomposity of telling someone they don’t look disabled really makes my blood boil… If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, stay calm, take the deep breath and educate the ignorant,”

McGuinness and his wife Christine announced back in 2017 that their twins have autism, the couple also have a three-year-old daughter, Felicity.

The Great British public have once again been throwing money at the corporation that harboured Jimmy Saville and Stuart Hall for decades. Now personally I find it a little bit inapt that therefore the Beeb should carry on with such things, but the good old Brits will chuck anything at well publicised charity. And what chucking it was this year, £47,886,382.

BBC Children In Need is described by the corporation as ‘a special night of family entertainment to help raise money for disadvantaged children and young people in communities across the UK’. But these days thankfully Beeb personalities aren’t wandering wards late at night in the hope of a quick thrill for their own entertainment to raise a jingle jangle bit of blood pressure.

Celebrities lured in by ‘Aunty Beeb’ included Cheryl [formerly Cole], Danny Dyer, Rupert Grint, Nadiya Hussain, Felicity Jones, Vicky McClure, Himish Patel, Eddie Redmayne, Andrew Scott, Gareth Southgate and David Tennant – who all could have put in probably huge amounts and raised a similar figure themselves – reminded viewers about where their hard earned money goes with stories of the children and young people who have received support from BBC Children in Need funded projects. No Shame, utterly no shame.

BBC, supporting children’s charities, even after their big big star was outed as a pedo.


TVLine exclusively reported that the producers of Days of Our Lives had released the entire cast from their contracts leading to speculation the soap opera, that began in 1965, may be coming to an end.

The entertainment site noted the show would go on an ‘indefinite hiatus’ at the end of the month. The NBC serial is one of the remaining few daytime sagas still on air with the past decade seeing many old favourites axed due to declining ratings including Guiding Light, that up until its demise had been the world’s longest-running soap broadcasting for 72 years. Distributor Sony Pictures Television is currently in negotiations with broadcaster NBC about the future of Days of Our Lives.

While TVLine has insider information from a Sony Source noting this information ATV Today has been told by most likely a different Sony source in the UK that Days of Our Lives may have a lifeline with possible plans for the series to be picked up next year by a UK broadcaster. This follows the success of old soap repeats on ITV3 and UKTV’s Drama channel. How far back into the history of Days of Our Lives for a run on UK screens remains to be seen – however it is likely to be from the past few years and not back into 70s or 80s editions.

Reps for NBC and Sony declined to comment to TVLine about the axing gossip.


Thankfully not the UK version of the show, but over on RTL in Germany their version of the Got Talent format left viewers at best stunned and at worst horrified when a hopeful performer entered the stage and gave the audience and judges a night to remember, but one they’d rather forget.

Duckie L’Orange dropped her trousers showed her backside, that had a drawing of a dog on it – the bum crack being the mouth – and then proceeded to ‘feed the dog’ with sausages. Metro newspaper eloquently reported how Duckie ‘then sat on the floor and scooted over to the sausages, picking them up with her bum and shoving them so it looked like the dog was eating them.’ The paper continued to reveal how she tensed ‘her buttcheeks to make it look like the dog was chewing, the live studio audience recoiled in horror and the judges held their hands over their mouths’.

It sounds almost as painful as watching Antony Cotton attempt a dramatic serious scene in Corrie…


BBC One crime thriller Bloodlands, created by up-and-coming writer Chris Brandon, will star James Nesbitt in the lead role of Northern Irish police detective, Tom Brannick. Filming will take place in and around Belfast and Strangford Lough,

Early in November Emmerdale actress Louisa Clein had a lucky escape from the Piccadilly Theatre roof collapse. The 40-year-old performer is best known for playing dubious Maya Stepney in the Leeds based serial. She at the London theatre to see Death of a Salesman with her mum when she tweeted on social media that the evening had become a ‘terrifying moment’ as the venue was evacuated.

Only Fools And Horses viewers were said to be unimpressed by the costs to have their photograph taken with David Jason at a forthcoming event. Organisers plan to charge fans £250 to have a photo taken with Jason who will appear at the event as his sitcom alter-ego Del Boy Trotter in a mock-up of the famous family flat. The price rises to over £350 for photos and signatures. However, its believed it will be 79-year-old Jason’s final-ever appearance as Del Boy. Chortle reported that the proceeds from the costly gig will be donated to Diabetes UK. But it hasn’t made fans feel any more ‘je suis je reste’.

ITV takeaway Moffatt. Quite literally, actually. November saw the news that one-time Gogglebox fireside telly critic Scarlett Moffatt dropped from Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. She joined the series in 2017, but the 29-year-old won’t be back. Described by ITV as a ‘contributor’ to the programme the broadcaster will continue to feature Catchphrase host  Stephen Mulhern as a contributor in the forthcoming series. ITV also note the role Scarlett filled will not be replaced.

Coronation Street was criticised for being insensitive towards couples using IVF treatment following comments made by Maureen Lipman’s character Evelyn Plummer. ‘You can’t move for twins and triplets these days. At least she did it the old-fashioned way and not through, what’s it, IVF.‘ Ofcom noted it had received 60 complaints.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood spoke of how he nearly didn’t appear on the BBC One Saturday night rating banker. Craig told ITV’s Sunday Morning with James Martin how when reading the synopsis for the show he thought the format would be “awful”. However the BBC persuaded the dance expert to appear in a pilot and the rest is history, he’s been with the show since it launched in 2004.

On November 1st EastEnders quietly wrote out the characters of Arshad and Mariam Ahmed. Performers Madhav Sharma and Indira Joshi made their last appearance in the Walford set saga when they departed Albert Square to go travelling.

In other EastEnders departures, viewers were left stunned by the unexpected killing-off of Mel Owen, played by Tamzin Outhwaite. The character had, in true ‘Enders style, turned into a psychopath and was out for revenge after the death of her son, giving another long-running character Sharon Mitchell the evils. Having survived a car crash Owen was run over by a truck.

Sioned Wiliam, former Controller of Comedy at ITV, revealed how the broadcaster wasn’t a fan of Welsh programmes on the network when they refused to commission Gavin and Stacey for the channel when it was offered to them. Wiliam said the reason given was because the show was primarily set in Wales and execs felt it wouldn’t have ‘mainstream’ appeal. The series found a home originally on BBC Three before moving to BBC One. It became a huge success for the corporation.

It was happy news for Emmerdale fans as Fiona Wade married her former co-star Simon Cotton in a star-studded wedding. Fiona and Simon were joined by a number of ITV stars, including Charley Webb and her husband Matthew Wolfenden, as well as Michelle Hardwick. Fiona plays Priya Sharma in the ‘dales saga while Simon played Home Farm Estate client Hugh Bryant.

EastEnders will pay tribute to actress Barbara Windsor and her character Peggy Mitchell this Christmas, as Peggy’s granddaughter Louise portrayed by Tilly Keeper will name the baby after her late grandma.

Yorkshire Television’s The Darling Buds Of May is set for an ITV reboot according to Broadcast magazine. The stories of Author H.E. Bates will be adapted by Simon Nye the publication notes. The original proved a hit for the network in the early 1990s.

It may be the end of an era if Ofcom approve BBC plans to axe Children’s BBC mainstay news and current affair series Newsround from its afternoon schedules on the CBBC channel. Newsround started life nearly 50 years ago on BBC One, however since moving to the children’s aimed-channel has seen extra programmes added to the output including a morning Newsround. This second programme would survive the cull.

It’s ‘creme de la menthe’ prices for a pic with ‘Del Boy’.


Baby Baby…

This month BBC Breakfast regular Steph McGovern welcomed her first baby also Andy Murray celebrated the birth of his third child and Corrie actress Julia Goulding has gone on maternity leave.

Our Last Farewell…

News presenter Tazeen Ahmad, actress Jean Fergusson, actor Michael J. Pollard, actress Jane Galloway Heitz, chef and television presenter Gary Rhodes, broadcaster, writer and critic Clive James, director Jonathan Miller and actor Godfrey Gao all passed away in November.

However one person who is very much alive is Peter Kay who had been the victim of a ‘death hoax’ this month.


Kelly Macdonald will star as guest lead in the next series of BBC One’s Line Of Duty while I’m A Celebrity  bosses have seen sense and ended the eating of live bugs in their ‘bush-tucker trials’. In other news, 189 t*ats complained about Strictly Come Dancing’s first same-sex dance routine.

We extend our well wishes to former Corrie actor Gray O’Brien, villain Tony Gordon in the saga, who revealed on social media that he had been battling stage four tonsil cancer since August. He announced this month he had successfully finished treatment for the disease.

Magic Light Pictures, the multi Oscar-nominated and Bafta Award-winning production company, has announced that an animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s children’s book Zog And The Flying Doctors, the companion title to Zog, is set to premiere on BBC One for Christmas 2020.

The animated half-hour will be produced by Michael Rose and Martin Pope of Magic Light and directed by Sean Mullen. Animation services will be provided by Giant Animation in Dublin. The special has been acquired by Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content and Tommy Bulfin, Commissioning Editor, BBC Drama.

The first Zog film was a roaring success from Christmas 2018 and has recently been nominated for an International Kids Emmy and won a number of other awards.

In the new film Zog, Pearl and Gadabout are now a flying doctor trio, caring for creatures including a mermaid, a unicorn and a sneezy lion. When bad weather forces them to land at the palace, Pearl is locked up by her uncle, the king. Zog and Gadabout try to set her free. However, when their attempts fail, Pearl has to come up with the best way of all to regain her freedom. The Snail And The Whale will premiere on BBC One this Christmas.


Roger Morris, Managing Director of Elstree Studios pays tribute to Nik Powell

“It was with great sadness that I heard that Nik Powell had died on Wednesday.

“I had worked with Nik on and off since his Virgin days with Richard Branson in 1973. Nik and Richard co-founded Virgin. Back then as an independent film director I was making music videos for Virgin and almost went into partnership with them for a film and video company. In the 80’s Nick now parted from Virgin and started Palace Pictures. I joined Palace in 1984. The films that Nik Powell and Steve Woolley made at Palace have become iconic, The Crying Game, Scandal, Mona Lisa and many others.

“In 1988, we set up the Powerstation for BSB, it was for its short life a very successful Music Channel, it had a great team of presenters including a newcomer Chris Evans. Nik was great at setting up a team. Many of the Palace Team have gone on to become well-known in the Film and TV industry including Robert Jones, Daniel Battsek, Norman Humphrey and many others, too many to mention.

“After the demise of Palace, Nik became head of the National Film & Television School, a role that he undertook with a passion, lifting the profile and aspirations at the NFTS to a new level, helping create a new stream of Film, TV and Animation talent, Directors, writers and cinematographers. It was a privilege to work with him, and for him and support him in his endeavours. I regard him as truly inspirational and a great loss to the Creative Industries and a great loss as a friend. My very best wishes go to his family at this sad time.”

The views are those of Vivian Summers and are not endorsed by ATV.


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