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‘A dear friend, fellow agitator and creative force of nature’

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‘A dear friend, fellow agitator and creative force of nature’

Penelope Teeth casts her views over five showbiz headlines from this past week…


Mark Stewart the founding member and frontman of The Pop Group, died aged 62 this week as announced by Mute Records. His record company noted that the singer and crowd-pleaser had become deceased in the early hours of Friday. Their statement noted that Mr Stewart was “a dear friend, fellow agitator and creative force of nature”.

When Mark was a teenager he established The Pop Group in 1977, with band members comprising of John Waddington, Simon, Gareth Sager and Bruce Smith. Their first recording was released in 1979, but the band folded in 1981 before a revival in 2010. ‘They were known for their post-punk, dub, free jazz and avantgarde experimentalism with sound.’ noted the BBC.


Loose Women Live is to tour the UK, thankfully they’ve not had the idea to make the show like Question Time and host it live on ITV from various locations – this is strictly for the theatregoers’ eyes only.

A total of 16 dates will see all the regular opinionated ladies and Coleen Nolan hit cities such as Leicester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Bath, Ipswich and Newcastle.


Paul O’Grady’s funeral took place near his home in Kent with many of his local friends and fans of his television and radio shows lining the streets to pay their respects. The turnout also saw many with their dogs in attendance in tribute to the animal lover. The comedian and presenter, who died last month at the age of 67, was laid to rest in a private service. There will be a public memorial service at a later date.

Friend and comedian Julian Clary and actor and LGBT activist Michael Cashman delivered readings while stars of stage, screen and radio joined Paul’s family for the church service in the village of Aldington.

Paul became a television personality in his own right after many years of performing in drag as Lily Savage.


AJ Odudu and Will Best are reported as being lined up to present Big Brother when it returns to ITV2 following previous runs on Channel 5 and originally Channel 4. Luckily it is the format that made the show a success and not the hosting talent so it shouldn’t really matter who presents it.

A source told The Sun newspaper: “AJ has known since last year the ‘Big Brother’ job was hers but she’s been waiting for her co-host to be confirmed. AJ and Will did a brilliant screen test together and their chemistry was brilliant. It was a no brainer. They are great friends too so to be able to work together is really exciting.

“They could not be more excited about joining forces to bring back ‘Big Brother’. AJ and Will are going to be formally announced by ITV really soon and they can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Now if they would only replace Marcus ‘over exaggerated Geordie hammed up tones’ Bentley with Danny Dyer that would be somethin’ to ‘ave, ain’t it.


Brookside and West End star Claire Sweeney is to join the cast of Coronation Street as the mother of Weatherfield mechanic Tyrone Dobbs. Claire starts filming next week and her first appearance will be on June 28th.

Tyrone, (Alan Halsall) has been told by his grandmother Evelyn Plummer (Dame Maureen Lipman) that her daughter and his biological mother Cassie is dead. So when Cassie turns up on the cobbles out of the blue in June, Evelyn is faced with a real dilemma as she has to decide whether to come clean to Tyrone about her lies.

Tyrone grew up believing that his mum was Jackie Dobbs, played by Margi Clarke, but in 2018 investigations into his parentage brought him into contact with Evelyn for the first time and he discovered evidence that Evelyn’s daughter Cassandra was his biological mother. (This was a retcon of the original story in the 1990s which had Jackie as his birth mother.)

Not trusting Cassandra to look after him properly due to her drug habit, Evelyn had abandoned Tyrone at a police station in 1982 where he was found by Jackie who brought him up as her own. Now Tyrone faces more heartache as secrets and lies from his past threaten to destroy his relationship with his grandma and he has to navigate a new relationship with his mother.

Coronation Street Producer Iain MacLeod:

“Claire bowled us over in her audition and the scenes with her, Tyrone and Evelyn will be electric. Her arrival will mark the start of a tumultuous time for Tyrone and the family and her impact will be felt across the street in the weeks and months that follow.”

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