Pinch, punch its the first of the month. Time for a newswrap of recent stories in TV Weekly.

Beverley Callard to switch Weatherfield for celebrity jungle

It’s been reported by a couple of newspapers that departing Coronation Street stalwart Beverly Callard has been signed up to appear in ITV reality series I’m A Celebrity.

Beverley quit the serial last year with her departure due to be screened in 2020. It was 1989 that Callard appeared as Liz McDonald in the Salford-set show, having briefly appeared as two minor characters in 1984 and 1987. Initially she was mother of the McDonald clan with ex-serviceman husband Jim and twin sons Steve and Andy making up the four-piece. From the off the family caused ripples in Coronation Street with wayward Steve bringing shame to the doorstep, later Jim’s boozing caused problems and Liz left the family home having an affair with neighbour Des Barnes’ younger brother.

Other storylines saw Liz fall pregnant only for her to lose her baby daughter, she became part of the Rover Return bar staff under Bet and Alec Gilroy – it was Alec that took Liz’s image from frumpy housewife to back-lane hooker, to ‘lure in’ the punters – and for a spell she became landlady of The Queens. Her original time with Corrie came to a close in 1998 with brief return stints in 2000-04 and 2003-04. Liz made a permanent return to Weatherfield in late 2004 remaining until 2011, this departure seemed more final and ITV aired a special documentary celebrating the actress and character.

Beverley’s last run with Corrie began in 2013 and during this current spell with the show the character has been at the centre of some memorable storylines. She’s been Rover Return co-owner and landlady, had a romance and been run-down by an off-her-head Jenny Bradley.

“On my last day I’ll set fire to Liz’s wardrobe” – Beverley Callard speaking to The Mirror


Newswrap Headlines

Steph outta Time: The Steph McGovern show launched to help viewers through these unprecedented times, but failed to rate for the channel up against This Morning.

The series was originally set to launch from glamorous studios in Leeds with a water-view backdrop, but instead due to Corona-19 the production airs live from her own living room. While the show didn’t set the ratings on fire for the broadcaster they put the chop down to having ‘stretched the patience of [Steph’s] neighbours a bit too far’. The show will return as intended from the studio base later in 2020.

Foxed about Future: MSN News reported that ‘Laurence Fox is “frightened” about losing his career following the fierce backlash he received after his appearance on ‘Question Time‘.’ The actor caused a social media controversy when he appeared on the Beeb politicial programme in January and declared “it’s so easy to throw the card of racism at everybody and it’s really starting to get boring now”.

The Victoria actor said that wasn’t in any way “denying racism”, but thinks the term has been “demeaned” so that it “means nothing”.

No ‘Oaks for Katona: Singer and reality television starlet Kerry Katona revealed to The Mirror that she’d been declined a role on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. While the past decade has seen the series become a truly rounded soap opera there was a time when it was notorious for its iffy plots and tragic acting. Sadly Katona attempted to get a part on the show once those days had long past so didn’t stand a chance… just a shame Crossroads isn’t on she could have played the new Doris Luke.

Corporation Cuts: Staff have been told the BBC will have to find £125m savings this year BBC News revealed. It is unlikely that the bloated management levels and overstaffed corporate behind-the-scenes departments will see cuts – instead, as usual, the hacking taking place at the broadcasting end of the Beeb, so viewers can see how ‘hard done to’ the organisation is. Suggestions have seen BBC Four may be axed in one of the culls.


Sixty Years of Corrie celebrated with Hardback Book

“60 Years of Coronation Street will be the ultimate celebration of a show that’s shaped British television and prove to be the ‘must-have’ gift for every Corrie fan.” – ITV Ventures

Celebrating 60 years since the show’s creation, ITV Ventures have announced a new book marking the landmark anniversary. This book is, according to ITV, ‘an exhaustive, compelling and entertaining history packed full of features and long forgotten imagery.’

Entitled 60 Years of Coronation Street the publication takes readers through every year of the saga in a unique timeline that highlights key plot lines, significant production events, together with an impressive amount of photography. You’ll discover features on characters, famous actors, royal visits, births, deaths, marriages and murders, together with interviews with key actors, producers and production staff. There are even QR codes so not only can you read about iconic scenes, but you can view them as well.

A special section on the show’s creator Tony Warren, shows how the programme evolved from page to screen and is illustrated with rare imagery and items from his own archive. There are even special gate-fold pages that open out showing how the set has developed over the years and family trees of the major characters so you can see the complex web of relations for the likes of the Barlows and the Platts.

The book is set to be released on October 29th 2020. It can be pre-ordered at all good online book retailers.


ITV return to a Family Fortune?

Deadline report that old ITV game show Family Fortunes – a regular repeat on Challenge TV – could be returning to screen with a new format and new host.

A pilot, to be produced by format owners Fremantle Media, will cameras placed in the homes of two families, with the traditional studio setting done away with. The core game however will remain the same as each family try to win points, prizes and money by correctly guessing answers from public surveys.

The series, overseen by Thames Television who also produced the most recent celebrity based versions of the show, will produce a pilot for ITV executives. Names mooted to host the show include darlings of the small screen such as Alan Carr, Rylan Clark-Neal, Bradley Walsh and Holly Willoughby. However ITV executives have occationally gone for random castings such as Peter André hosting 60 Minute Makeover so it wouldn’t be a surprise if someone like chef John Torode or judge Robert Rinder hosted the reboot.

Family Fortunes launched originally on the ITV network in 1980, produced by ATV with Bob Monkhouse as host. The show saw Max Bygraves take over in 1983 before being rested. When the series returned, with Central Television now in charge, in 1987 the show was revamped into the programme most of us know and love with Les Dennis as host. In 2006 a celebrity version was launched with Vernon Kay as host.


And Also…

Flamin’ Mornin’: While it seems unlikely John Torode will be hosting Family Fortunes, he’s had a fair few mis-fortunes on This Morning from having his outdoor ‘kitchen’ blown away by a helicopter during one live segment to recently a kitchen fire during his cookery slot. ‘A cloth next to the cooker went up in flames behind him’ Wales Online reported, adding, ‘After finally realising the danger the Masterchef judge picked up the blazing tea towel and dropped it into the sink before running the tap.’ John was presenting from his home kitchen with Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield in the studio at Television Centre – unable to bring his attention to the unfolding small fire behind him other than shout down the line his hob was alight.

Mental Health Season for the BBC: The Beeb has announced a mental health programming schedule for the month of May to mark 2020 Mental Health Awareness Week. Highlights include the Duke of Cambridge talking to football players about mental health concerns, comedian Tony Slattery looks at his own struggles with drink, drugs and a breakdown while actor David Harewoodretraces his psychotic breakdown and consequent sectioning in his early 20s.

Adam’s having none of it: ‘What gives somebody the right to say [they’re fat] to someone just because you’re on TV?’ EastEnders actor Adam Woodyatt pondered on an edition of the Ed James podcast. He reflected on rudeness by the general public after a woman and man commented on his more rotund figure ‘in real life’ from how he appears as Ian Beale on-screen. And it used to be said that TV cameras put pounds on, does this mean HD takes pounds off? And my mind now wanders for some reason to Gemma Collins…

Britain’s Still Got Talent: Although it appears ITV bosses are considering carrying on the series without any studio audience so the talent won’t be getting any standing ovations in large numbers. Episodes recorded before ‘lock down’ recently aired on ITV with the full bells, whistles and studio participation.

Dance Off: While BGT carries on the dance-floor has been ripped up and chucked in the skip for The Greatest Dancer. The BBC One show, hosted by Alesha Dixon and Jordan Banjo, ran for two series.

Fasting with Four: Channel 4 is to take a unique look at British Muslim life in Ramadan in Lockdown a five part series of five minute short films, culminating in an Eid special, to air next month.

Back to the land of Ozzy: Jack Osbourne has teased that hit fly-on-the-wall show The Osbournes could return to telly screens in the future. The series followed the lives of singer Ozzy, wife, music exec and talent judge Sharon and their children Jack and Kelly – along with a host of pooches. The original series launched in 2002 and ran for four series.

Share the Laughs: BBC One is repeating all twelve episodes of Peter Kay’s Car Share from Friday 15th May. The car-based comedy will also be available as a box set on BBC iPlayer.

Aussie’s are Back: Channel 5 have announced that their Australian soaps are returning to five-days-a-week broadcasts from May 11th. At the start of the Covid-19 issues Neighbours and Home & Away were dropped to two episodes a week, but have been recently restored to thrice weekly.

Golden Days: This week Channel 5 began repeating The Golden Girls the stateside NBC hit of the 1980s and early 90s. The show proved hugely popular with UK audiences when it was screened on Channel 4 here in the UK with the series showing being older didn’t mean you were ‘past it’. Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty brought to life no-nonsense Dorothy, dim-but-adorable Rose, good-time-had-by-all Blanche and brutally honest Sophia. Catch it from 12.45pm weekdays.


Soaps in a Lather

It seems the global pandemic that has brought the nation almost to a halt has worried the top brass of ITV that if their soaps went off-air for a period of time viewers may discover there is more to life than the tawdry lives of those in Emmerdale Village and Weatherfield.

 “I don’t want anyone who has been watching the soaps for years thinking ‘Oh I have done without it, maybe I’ll detox and I’ll get some life back’. No! Please don’t do that! Please keep watching the soaps. We’ll just have to be better at what we do.” – ITV programme boss Kevin Lygo, quoted by The Guardian

Maybe he hasn’t too much to worry about as it seems the government is keen to get the serials back on air. Broadcast reported that ITV execs had been in conversation with officials who want Coronation Street and Emmerdale to resume as soon as its safe to do so. The shows are, at the moment, airing thrice weekly.

“The government is very keen for us to bring back the soaps as soon as we can, while observing the social distancing measures.” – ITV’s chief executive Carolyn McCall, speaking to Broadcast

Meanwhile over at the BBC and EastEnders, who have only managed to boost their ratings by being scheduled after BBC News Specials where people can’t be arsed to turn over, bosses also want a safe but swift return to production. The show is currently airing just twice a week.


Morgan in the Morning

For people in the North West, East Midlands and North East ‘Morgan In The Morning’ used to be the happy sound of the late John Morgan aka John Myres on the wireless transmissions of Century Radio. These days the sounds are rarely happy, with Piers Morgan battling anyone who gets in his firing line, notably MPs and Boris Johnson.

Now to be fair, we’ve looked at this issue a number of times and the only issue we have with it is Good Morning Britain proclaims to be a ‘news magazine’ however isn’t part of ITV Newsalthough brands itself as though it is – so doesn’t have the impartiality rules that apply to all other legit news shows.

Anyway that aside he’s been the voice of the people the past few weeks on GMB and Ofcom, despite 4,000 viewer complaints, have said Morgan is fine to berate and batter any MP who dares link-up or set foot in the studio.

Now while some may be happy about this, others will be asking whether Ofcom’s ‘guidelines’ and ‘regulations’ are much use at all when it rarely involves itself in ‘content’. Unless its a 50 year old programme on Talking Pictures TV with old ‘dubious language’ of course that 5 people find offensive – then it acts.


Farewell Jill

Actress Jill Gascoine, passed away on April 28th aged 83. The performer was best-known to television audiences for her roles in LWT’s cop drama The Gentle Touch, it’s TVS spin-off Cats EYES and BBC One’s period drama The Onedin Line.

Born in London in 1937, Jill began her acting career on the stage before television parts became frequent. Early appearances include in BBC police drama Z Cars and BBC crime saga Dixon of Dock Green with other roles in Thames Television’s soap Rooms, ATV hospital set soap General Hospital, STV’s gritty murder based cop show Taggart and Central Television’s private investigation based drama Boon.

In 2009 she was cast in Cockney saga EastEnders, however pulled out after her first day on set. “Having spent the last 15 years working in America… I felt on arrival I lacked the right experience to film such a big continuing drama,” she told the BBC at the time.

Her final acting role was in stateside movie After Midnight in 2007. There had been several other big screen appearances including 1975’s saucy movie Confessions of a Pop Performer and The Pure Hell of St. Trinian’s in 1960.

Her family released a statement saying Jill passed away after a number of years living with Alzheimer’s disease.

JILL GASCOINE 1937 – 2020

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