TV Critic Vivian Summers casts her view over January’s showbiz gossip.

SURPRISE SURPRISE! IT’S CILLA HERE!

When the news was announced that there would be a new Cilla Black single my dear old critic friend Queenie Le Trout proclaimed that ‘haven’t we suffered enough already!’ which seems a bit harsh on dear departed Cilla Black. Now I’m the first to admit that when our Cilla was at her howling highest it did grate a bit on my ears.

However when she sung mellow and soulfully she sounded fabulous. Anyway Sky News reported that ‘You’re Sensational, recorded in the 1970s as a follow-up to Cilla’s hit song Something Tells Me, has been found in storage.’ The track has a disco sound apparently and will be released five years after Black died aged 72 in Spain after suffering a stroke. The Merseyside star also became a much loved telly personality with her own BBC series Cilla in the sixties and seventies and LWT hits for ITV in the 80s and 90s such as Blind Date and Surprise Surprise!

“I thought we had released everything there was to release.. So it was a real joy to find a complete unreleased track by my mother from the early 1970s. I think the fans will really enjoy hearing it for the first time as much as I did.” – son and manager Robert Willis

Dutch music producer Matt Pop has given Liverpool’s loudest lass a remix for the Valentine’s Day release.

Cilla at ATV in the 1970s.

SHIRLEY BALLAS REMAINS STRICTLY UNPOPULAR

Strictly Come Dancing’s head judge Shirley Ballas is discovering just how much Len Goodman was loved by viewers as his replacement is still getting hate mail and online abuse despite taking over from Len in 2017. You’d think the viewers would have mellowed to the change by now, but it seems that age old problem of while men can say critical things and its seen as that – a critique – women are seen as bitches for passing honest comments.

Shirley however isn’t letting it get her down and following a recent incident while appearing in pantomime in Teesside (that’s the North East to most of you) she took to social media to put those attacking her in their place.

“As we know, I had quite a lot of bullying on Strictly this time, and my inbox on Instagram was full of horrific and horrendous messages, but this has gone a step further now. I’ve had a hand-delivered message… hand-delivered to the [Darlington] Hippodrome, addressed to me, with not such nice comments or words.

“My message for young people, or anybody out there who receives awful messages or hate mail or things from people that don’t know them, the issue is the other person’s, it’s not so much ours, even though I do find it quite upsetting when I’ve been out there performing, and then I read something like this from someone who doesn’t even know me.

“The message out there is to be strong going into 2020, really, really love yourself and don’t be fazed by the bullies.”

Ballas had previously spoken on BBC Breakfast about problems with online bulling during the 2019 series of Strictly, that she said was the ‘worst ever’ since joining the programme three years ago.

SHOW ME YOUR LOLI, KYM

Singer, theatre star, wax work icon and Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh hit back at those who mocked, laughed and generally poo-pooed her choice of ‘grandmother name’.

Most grannies out there will use terms such as grandma, nan, nanna, gran or such variations for their grandkids to call them. Kym however has opted for an ‘outside the box’ name of affection with Loli. The former Hearsay singer became a grandparent for the first time in 2019 following the birth of her daughter Emilie’s son Teddy.

Speaking on social media she said of those mocking her choice of Loli;

“I LOVE how many people on here have an issue with my choice of name as a grandparent!?! Surely all that matters is that he is happy and loved why does it matter what he calls me? I know lots of people with alternative names! So what! Loli is my choice…” – Kym Marsh aka Teddy’s Loli.

Kym Marsh (right) with her Madame Tussauds Blackpool wax work double.

GOOD NEWS FOR A CHANGE

BBC Radio 5 Live’s podcast You, Me and the Big C had some good news in January. One of the regulars on the podcast Deborah James announced that she is “in a cancer-free place” following three years of treatment.

“It’s a bit bonkers… but right now I have no evidence of cancer in my body,” –  Deborah James

Speaking on social media James, who was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer in 2016, told her followers she was “beyond grateful” and also discussed how much medical work had gone into dealing with the cancer, “3 years on, 10 operations, too many scans, a lot of chemo, some fancy drugs, lots of tears….I’m still standing – and you (according to my most recent scans!) are still sleeping! In fact, we have cut you out, burnt you, zapped you, ablated you, used radiotherapy, used targeted therapy, used every tool in the book.”

WHEN FREEDOM OF SPEECH BECOMES UNTENABLE?

Freedom of speech is one thing, but continuous daily barrage of racist and foul commenting surely has to be dealt with somehow. And in January Twitter decided that the negatives of Katie Hopkins outweighed any freedom of speech she was entitled to on the site.

The outspoken gobshite had her account suspended for violating the social media company’s ‘anti-hate policy’. However don’t get the party started too soon as Twitter noted that the former Apprentice contestant had only been ‘temporarily locked out’ of her tweeting capabilities.

More than one million users on the site have followed Hopkins and her controversial tweets. BBC News note that  ‘US President Donald Trump has re-tweeted her on several occasions, allowing her to gain a larger global following.’ 

REWIND QUICKIES

My favourite chef Gino D’Acampo hit out at critics who said they found him creepy and weird for cuddling and kissing his daughter in bed. Now if it was a soap opera, they’d make it creepy and weird such is the world we live in now. But in the real world its just genuine affection between a dad and daughter. Oh just in case you’re weirded out, his daughter is seven, not 24.

Geordie Queen Cheryl [still known as Cheryl Cole to most of us I would think] revealed she may turn to sperm donors to give her son Bear some brothers and sisters. There won’t be anymore created by Bear’s daddy; former One Direction singer Liam Payne following their parting of the ways.

Such sad news in January when much-loved rock star Ozzy Osbourne revealed he has Parkinson’s disease. It isn’t often you find a rocker becomes much-loved by the general public, but Ozzy with his pure honesty and humour has endeared himself to those who don’t even like rock music, such is his personality. Ozzy said the diagnosis had been ‘challenging’ for him.

Rod Stewart also made the news in January when he was reported to have allegedly twatted a security employee in Palm Beach, Florida. The 74-year-old Do You Think I’m Sexy? singer apparently gave the guard a punch to “the left rib cage area,” following his 39-year-old son Sean having apparently shoved the worker. In a more Do You Know Who I Am? moment than sexy it seems the pair tried to enter a invitation-only event, without an invite. The case will be heard in court on February 5th.

Television presenter Fern Britton has split from her This Morning chef husband Phil Vickery the couple announced on social media. Fern and Phil met on BBC Two’s Ready, Steady, Cook back in the 1990s when she was host and he was one of the celebrity chefs. There followed a romance, and later marriage. However after over two decades together its Ready, Steady, Split. “After more than 20 years together, Phil and I have decided to go our separate ways.” she noted on Twitter.

That old attention-seeker Roxanne Pallett may now finally settle down and grow up. The most complained about woman of 2018 to Ofcom, and indeed part of the most complained about moment of the entire 2010’s, has married. At first I thought ‘poor sod, what has he let himself in for’ but then I thought well maybe he can help the CBB douchebag change her very odious spots. Those of us who don’t like arse-wipes on TV won’t however forget she falsely accused Ryan Thomas of attacking her with malicious intent on Celebrity Big Brother, in a selfish act that could have ended his career and hopefully has ended hers. But in this world where Z-list celebrities get hired for the most awful of programmes I wouldn’t count on that sadly.

Kerry Katona said she won’t judge Caroline Flack following the Love Island host getting charged with assault. The singer and former face of Iceland Prawn rings told a tabloid it was harder for women to come back into television after beating up a fella, or something like that. Caroline will be no doubt thrilled by such a celebrity endorsement.

Sad news, Fern and Phil are going their separate ways.

DEAR ITV…

Now you know I love you, and have loved you for many years. Right back to the days of 3-2-1 and The Grumbleweeds, but please whoever thinks David Walliams can present please give your head a wobble darlings!

Now David makes for a reasonably decent, if repetitive, judge on Britain’s Got Dubious Talent, and he writes awfully lovely children’s books that get turned into even more lovely BBC One children’s dramas at Christmas, and while he is a gift to the sketch show he is no Terry Wogan or Trevor McDonald, so quit giving him shows to host. Surely his murdering of Blankety Blank a few years ago should have been warning enough.

But no, we had the National Television Awards hosted by him this year – enough already. Being the 25th anniversary surely it would have been much nicer if all the previous hosts had fronted a bit? Start with Eammon Holmes, hand over to Trevor McDonald and end with Dermot O’Leary. Alas we had David doing his faux gay, walking round in his underpants and badly received jokes. When you’re booed, you’re buggered.

ASHES TO ASHES, DUST TO DUST

Our Last Farewell…

Performer Derek Acorah died aged 69, Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin creator MC Beaton passed aged 83, Coronation Street actor Neville Buswell who played Ray Langton from 1966 to 1978 and again in 2005 died aged 77, Rush drummer Neil Peart died aged 67 and Monty Python legend Terry Jones passed away at 77.

We also said farewell to Sale of the Century and Just a Minute host Nicholas Parsons at 96, Dark Shadows and Cagney & Lacey actor John Karlen died aged 86, Heartbeat, Yes Minister and Basil Brush regular Derek Fowlds passed aged 82,  former professional wrestler Rocky Johnson died aged 75, actor Harry Hains died aged just 27, former Scottish football legend Robert ‘Bobby’ Brown passed away aged 96 and Edd Byrnes of Grease and 77 Sunset Strip fame died aged 86.

It was also goodbye to ground-breaking producer Tony Garnett at 83 of Kes and Cathy Come HomeUgly Betty creator Silvio Horta died aged 45, ATV News and Central News reporter and political editor Reg Harcourt passed aged 88, Highlander and Friends actor Stan Kirsch died aged 51, screenwriter Buck Henry passed away aged 89, BBC Radio Ulster presenter Stephen Clements died suddenly at 47 and Last of the Summer Wine and Upstairs Downstairs actor Christopher Beeny died aged 78.

And tragic news from America when US basketball legend Kobe Bryant died aged 41 in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

THE YEAR OF CELESTE

The British-Jamaican singer was chosen by a panel of 170 influential music experts, including alumni artists Billie Eilish and Lewis Capaldi as well as DJs, radio and TV producers, journalists, streaming experts and festival bookers.

Celeste started her journey with BBC Music in 2014 when she uploaded her track North Circular to the BBC Music Introducing website. She was recently named as BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year 2019 after performing on Introducing stages at Glastonbury and SXSW festivals in 2019, and she’s set for an even bigger 2020 as she embarks on a headline tour across the UK.

On the 5th February, Annie Mac will host Sound of 2020 Live on BBC Radio 1 from 8-11pm, welcoming a selection of the longlisted artists to the BBC’s legendary Maida Vale studios to perform live for an exclusive studio audience.

“2019 was an incredible year for me and I could never have predicted half of the things that happened. Some of my favourite memories have been the live shows. From performing Strange for the very first time at the Lexington for BBC Introducing, going live with Annie Mac from Maida Vale, to Jools Holland. I’m so grateful for every opportunity I’ve had so far and am looking forward to what 2020 will bring.” – Celeste

Celeste wins BBC Music’s Sound of 2020.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

It’s just not a REWIND without a mention of the now legendary This Morning behind the scenes spats that apparently make Game of Thrones look like Play Away.

“My Faves” – Amanda Holden

A short but telling comment by Amanda in regards to a photograph of Eammon Holmes and Ruth Langsford holding the This Morning National Television Award for best Daytime Magazine Show.

Amanda – a former guest co-host on the long running ITV show – apparently fell out with regular hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby when she was reportedly ‘blocked’ from co-hosting This Morning by Phillip while Holly was covering for Ant McPartlin on 2018’s I’m A Celebrity. Rochelle Humes was brought in instead having had the Schofield seal of approval.

Amanda Holden.

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


 

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