Weekly Telly news highlights for the last week of February 2020.
Dean Gaffney, dropped like a hot chipolata from EastEnders.
Dean Gaffney reflects on Ender his soap job
“I took on board what they said and I 100 per cent respect their decision. I did think it was harsh, but then I understand they had to act on it. Some shows might not have an issue with it, but EastEnders don’t want to be seen to be allowing someone to speak to women in a derogatory way.”
Dean Gaffney, who was disposed of by BBC One saga EastEnders, spoke to The Sun newspaper about his departure from the saga. At the time of his axing in October 2019 he noted the thought the punishment was “harsh” for becoming the Walford flasher when it was revealed he’d been sending photos of his ‘well’ard’ in private texts having ‘bombarded a female’ with messages and images. However he has pondered the situation and now thinks the Beeb bosses were right to send him away from the square.
“During my time in the public eye there have been a lot of kiss-and-tells about me. I have a self-destruct button and people can’t understand why I press it. I have no idea why I pressed it. I think EastEnders just thought enough is enough — and I don’t blame them. They said to me, ‘You are either really bad at picking women or you need to sort it out. You need to go off and find out why you are doing these things’. They were saying they loved me and wanted me to come back and they wished it wasn’t happening — but it is happening and they need to deal with it.” – Dean speaking to The Sun
Elsewhere this past week Gaffney, who played Robbie Jackson, revealed he used to carry sausages in his pocket around the set. If only he’d kept his own under wraps. And just in case you’re wondering the little chipolata sausages were treats for the various dogs on set.
Dean isn’t the first to be caught giving his Albert Square an airing to the opposite sex, the late Leslie Grantham – iconic Den Watts – was caught giving the performance of his life at the BBC Elstree studios, unfortunately it wasn’t on EastEnders, but instead via a webcam in Barbara Windor’s dressing room.
It was also recently revealed by Letitia Dean that the soap has a sex pest stalking the studios in the form of the ‘big beast’. Letitia, who has – on and off – played iconic Sharon Watts/Rickman/Mitchell, since the first episode of EastEnders 35 years ago told The Sun about the Staffordshire bull terrier who plays Bronson on the show. She noted ‘That big beast is always getting an erection, apparently… He loves Tilly Keeper!’
ITV denied claims by former Dancing on Ice contestant Caprice Bourret that the broacaster showed her “no duty of care”. Caprice quit the series earlier this month after undisclosed issues on the programme that saw her placed with two different professional skaters before she quit entirely.
Channel 4 issued a call-out for digital content aimed at teens aged 13-16 years-old. The content will be showcased across the channel’s social media platforms over the coming year. The items will give a platform to fresh, unheard voices from across the country, and at least 50% of the content spend for the project will be allocated to commissions that are BAME and nations and regions led.
Natasha Reddican, a producer on the controversial Jeremy Kyle Show was found dead by her boyfriend inside his home it was announced yesterday [Feb 28th]. Reddican had worked for ITV on the Salford based programme for eight years before it was axed last year following the suicide of recent participant on the show Steve Dymond. The Birmingham Mail noted that ‘The 31-year-old had been responsible for booking guests onto the show and helped with the general running of the series.’ Prior to her death Natasha had been working for the BBC.
Charlie Condou spoke about his Holby City role as consultant Ben Sherwood on ITV’s Lorraine Kelly show, however noted those medical wards are now a thing of the past for him as he’s already filmed his final scenes – with only a six month stint in the show. Former Corrie actor Condou continued that he was hired for “a little stint” on Holby and the door is left open for a future return.
Comedian Leigh Francis announced he’s created a t-shirt in memory of his pal Caroline Flack, with all proceeds going to the Samaritans. “I did this t-shirt to spread Caroline’s own words #Bekind,” said Francis, best known for his TV character Keith Lemon. Love Island host Caroline passed away earlier this month aged 40.
BBC Drama announced the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s critically-acclaimed novel Conversations With Friends, continuing the Beeb’s relationship with Rooney. This latest adaptation follows the corporation’s prior adaptation of her award-winning 2018 novel Normal People, which will premiere in the UK this spring on BBC Three and BBC One.
Viewers moaned that Coronation Street has ‘rehashed’ one of its old plots, and to be fair at first I thought the same. But it turns out it isn’t the same at all – and the previous incident was even referenced in the current storyline. Abi Franklin was lured to a hotel room by Ray Crosby who suggested they have sex in return for him destroying evidence he has against her. Only unlike the original plot, he was just playing with her and tossed her out into the hallway in a dressing gown. Comparisons were wrongly made with Pat Phelan when he blackmailed Anna Windass, who did get lusty.
Good Morning Britain viewers were impressed with the presenting reunion of Bill Turnbull and Susanna Reid this week. Bill and Susanna who had hosted BBC Breakfast together previously hosted ITV’s GMB for three days this past week. Turnbull stood in for Piers Morgan who was away filming other projects.
Bill and Susanna were reunited on ITV.
Barking Mad on This Morning
Roving reporter Alison Hammond has interviewed a tree for ITV daytime series This Morning. Broadcasting live from Calderstones Park in Liverpool the former Big Brother personality popped over to the 1,000-year-old oak tree, and had a chat.
The tree was in a buoyant mood having just won ‘UK tree of the year’. It’s only taken it 999 years to achieve the gong, but its not complaining.
Speaking to the tree, Alison asked: “You are up for this prestigious title, how does it feel to be nominated?” Luckily there was a ‘tree whisperer’ named Holly on hand, who noted the sessile oak was ‘very excited’ and found the prize an ‘honour’.
Alison then asked: “Do the other trees get jealous of you?” with the whisperer responding with the tree’s view; “Other trees don’t get jealous because it’s a community and the more people that come to see me, will come to see them.”
Back at Television Centre in London hosts Holly Willoughby Phillip Schofield were left giggling by the rooted interview.
Lee Phillip Bell passes away
Lee Phillip Bell, who along with her husband William J. Bell created stateside soap operas The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful died on February 25th aged 91.
A former journalist she co-devised with William The Young and the Restless first in 1973. Following its success a spin-off format was sought in 1987 with the couple devising The Bold and the Beautiful.
“Our mother was a loving and supportive wife, mother and grandmother. Gracious and kind, she enriched the lives of all who knew her. We will miss her tremendously.” – Family Statement
William passed away in 2005. Lee won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series for The Young and the Restless in 1975, and was gifted the Daytime Emmys’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. The programmes became a family affair with son, Bradley Bell working as an executive producer on the spin-off of Restless, daughter Lauralee Bell appeared in the founding show in the 80s and son William James Bell became president of the production company behind the sagas.
Jane McDonald ups anchor and leaves Channel 5
“By now you will have seen the news about me stepping away from my shows on Channel 5. It’s been an incredible four and a half years of travelling, 38 Cruises and over 100 flights. It’s now time for me to spend some time in the UK, concentrate on my music and tours and exciting new projects.” – Jane McDonald statement
The singer and presenter hosted a number of programmes for the network including her liner holiday series Cruising With Jane McDonald, chat and music show Jane and Friends and most recently Holidaying with Jane McDonald which saw Jane taking a step back from hosting the whole programme as guest celebrities provided some of the destination reports.
Cruising with Jane McDonald became an award-winning and ratings hit for Channel 5 with the programme bestowed a BAFTA – the first ever for Channel 5 since its inception in 1997.
“I want to offer my most sincere thanks to everyone who has worked on all my shows. Everyone at Channel 5 and Viacom International Studios who have all helped make the most incredible and successful programmes. It’s been a total joy to work with everyone and thank you very much to everyone who has watched and supported the shows. I have had a blast!” – Jane McDonald statement
No more… Jane has quit Channel 5
Emmerdale Departure for Doug
Emmerdale actor Duncan Preston has departed the dales for the second time. In a plot as farcical as Meg Richardson suddenly being able to hop onto the QE2 at short notice for a trip to Australia in Crossroads, Duncan’s character of Doug Potts has done practically the same, only his character isn’t going for a holiday – he’s going down under for good.
This week the exit plot began when Doug returned to the village along with daughter Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy) following a family holiday to Australia where they attended Sandy Thomas’ funeral. On a whim Doug has accepted an offer by former villager Betty Eagleton. Preston who is probably best known as Mr Clifford in spoof soap Acorn Antiques may have thought the farewell was inspired by it; ‘Don’t worry Miss Babs, I don’t need to do all the paperwork, and wait possibly five to twelve months for my permanent visa, I’m going to Australia disguised as a table from the Formica Motel.’
The character of Doug first appeared in 2007 remaining until 2011. Preston reprised the role in 2014. Plot highlights include the character getting ‘crabs’ in 2008, a dramatic pubic lice storyline that left the nation itching.
Simon Warr dies
Last week TV Weekly reported that BBC Radio personality Simon Warr had made his last broadcast. Having being diagnosed with a ‘very serious health condition’ a few weeks ago Warr emotionally said farewell to his listeners in a social media post.
‘Dear friends/followers, I’m unlikely to be on Twitter again. As some know already, I have a very serious health condition & am now receiving care in a hospice. I have asked a close friend to let you know the outcome, but I’d like to thank you all for your friendship & support…’
The BBC Radio Suffolk regular, and frequent contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show said his legacy would not be his broadcast years but his campaigning against false sexual allegations.
‘I like to think that my legacy will be a greater awareness of the human costs of false sexual allegations & wrongful convictions. It is a comfort to know that my book ‘Presumed Guilty’ has been useful for so many who have faced this ordeal & for their families…’
The former school headmaster, who also played headmaster on Channel 4 series That’ll Teach ‘Em, was the victim of fake abuse claims eight years ago. Two ex-pupils alleged inapt behaviour in the 1980s, the case was thrown out in 2014 in less than an hour of the hearing.
‘There is still much work to do, but I’ll not be able to be part of it. I have greatly enjoyed tweeting & campaigning, as well as meeting some of you. Goodbye to you all, dear friends. Yours, Simon‘.
A few hours after last week’s TV Weekly was published Simon passed away aged 65 from pancreatic and liver cancer.
Gary Newbon celebrates Jimmy Greaves
Former ATV Sport boss Gary Newbon was the man who took former footballer Jimmy Greaves into his department and made him a television personality.
As Greavsie turned 80 the former Midland sports presenter and executive paid tribute to his ATV and Central Television star.
“We got lucky, we didn’t know how funny Jimmy could be. Of course, I’ve taken the credit for it. Most kids watching didn’t know he used to be a footballer. He was just this funny bloke on telly. Bev Bevan used to tape him, so ELO could watch him while touring.” – Gary Newbon speaking to the Birmingham Mail
The one time Spurs and England striker was hired by ATV Sport, based in Birmingham, back in 1980 as a pundit for networked ITV show Star Soccer. Jimmy’s Cockney wit endearing him to viewers. He would later move to London’s LWT where he was teamed up with ex-Liverpool forward Ian St John for Saint and Greavsie a mainstay of the ITV schedules in the 80s and 90s on Saturday afternoons.
“He was 19 years with me up here and Birmingham was always his spiritual home… He was a top guy. Nineteen years working together, you’re bound to have the odd spat, but there were far, far more happy memories. He played a very important part in my development of sports coverage in the Midlands.” – Gary Newbon speaking to the Birmingham Mail
Gary Newbon at ATV.
Crimewatch Roadshow drives back onto BBC One
Crimewatch Roadshow Live, with Michelle Ackerley and Rav Wilding, returns to BBC One’s daytime schedules from Monday 9th March at 9.15am for three weeks. The programme will be appealing to the public to help tackle everyday crimes as well as crack some of the UK’s biggest unsolved cases.
Every weekday morning the programme will feature dramatic reconstructions of cases, designed to generate calls from viewers with crucial information to help police investigations.
In the studio, former detective Rav Wilding will reveal the latest crime fighting science, gadgets and techniques. He’ll also be calling on viewers to name more criminals caught on CCTV, and help the police track down individuals featured in a daily ‘wanted faces’ gallery.
Reporter Michelle Ackerley is also gearing up for three action-packed weeks of live shows. Michelle will travel the country, meeting detectives determined to solve crimes in their area – she’ll also go behind the scenes with police and emergency services, getting to experience first-hand the many ways they work to protect the public.
The return of Jeremy Vile to TV
A social media post has heralded the pending return to telly screens of Jeremy Kyle, host of the disgraced reality series that bore his name up until its demise last year.
“Jeremy first came to prominence as a Sony Award-winning radio host who changed the game at BRMB, Virgin Radio, Capital FM, talkSPORT and talkRADIO. Known for his honest, engaging opinions, Jeremy has also authored numerous columns for The Sun and a bestselling book for Hodder & Stoughton. A committed father and family man, he’s also a cancer survivor who has miraculously just welcomed a new son (and grandson!) into the world.
“…after a year spent battling the unimaginable consequences of a devastating tragedy, Jeremy Kyle will be back soon to have his say.”- statement on behalf of Jeremy Kyle
I think television has frankly been much nicer without him having his say, screaming at guests its his show and throwing ‘lie detector’ finding around like confetti.
Jeremy Kyle, plotting his TV comeback.
Quote of the Week
The return of Bill Turnbull to breakfast television had viewers in hysterics when on Wednesday [Feb 26th] things went wayward for the former BBC News personality. Hosting Good Morning Britain with Susanna Reid they noted:
“So, you’d forgotten to put your teeth in a little bit earlier and having trouble reading.” – Susanna
“I haven’t got my contact lenses and I’m having to wear glasses and then my earpiece popped out and we can’t find it anywhere.” – Bill
Saturday Night Take-me-Away
The big return of Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly to Saturday night telly proved a ratings hit for ITV, however the show became the talking point of the week by a gaffe on the show that even left the hosts looking bewildered.
Ant and Dec were left horrified during the first episode of Saturday Night Takeaway this series when the audience started laughing during a serious segment. The Television Centre studio were distracted by live images being shown on a screen behind the hosts as they spoke about a deserving family.
“Tragically three years ago they lost their daughter Darcey-Lee when she was just nine and a half weeks old.” Ant explained, and rather than sympathy the audience burst into laughter Ant and Dec both looked stunned by the reaction, only realising what was going on when the pair glanced behind them to see the husband was helping his wife pick her teeth while waiting outside the studio. The family were later surprised when ITV gifted them a house.
Bradley Walsh and Holly Willoughby will once again be giving people the opportunity to win a holiday of a lifetime in BBC One series Take Off. The show will include entertaining challenges, captivating stories, celebrity appearances and more.
Louise Jameson, who played Rosa Di Marco in EastEnders says she was axed from the soap for telling bosses she wouldn’t allow her character to become a racist. The character was killed off after two years. Mark Fowler actor David Scarboro quit the soap when a similar plot was suggested to him. He was later hounded by The Sun newspaper, eventually killing himself.
Steve Halliwell has returned to ITV Yorkshire to reprise his role as Emmerdale regular Zak Dingle. The actor took a six-month break from the serial last year following recent health problems. Halliwell took time out from the rural saga in 2018 to recover from a heart operation.
BBC Drama boss Piers Wenger rebuked claims Doctor Who is set for another axe due to falling ratings. He observed he thinks editorially its the best its ever been adding that its production values are also the best in the shows long history. ‘It’s an incredibly important show for young audiences’ Wenger noted, adding, ‘It will always be an important show for us’ and that the series is ‘a very long way’ from being dropped. Lead Jodie Whittaker also spoke about how she deliberately ‘forgot her lines’ when initial auditions were taking place, to put the actors at ease.
The Love Island final was an emotional affair, with a montage of highlights of Caroline Flack’s time as host of the show introduced with an emotional tribute from current presenter Laura Whitmore who was close to tears. “Caroline loved Love Island; she loved love and that’s why tonight’s final is dedicated to her.”
Laura Whitmore who gave an emotional tribute to Caroline Flack on the Love Island final.
The views in this opinion piece is those of Mike Watkins and are not endorsed by ATV Today.