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


Praying Maitlis

BBC News personality Emily Maitlis will be praying for peace and quiet after her stalker breached a restraining order for the 12th time. The Newsnight presenter has been suffering with two-decades of unwanted attention from Edward Vines, who first met Ms Maitlis when they were students at Cambridge University.

He was first convicted of harassing her in 2002 and most recently attempted to send two letters to Marion Maitlis, the Beeb presenters mother last year. BBC News noted ‘Vines, who is in custody at HMP Nottingham, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the order, which was originally imposed in 2009 and prevents him from contacting Ms Maitlis and her family.’

Vines, who claims he is in love with Emily and he can’t understand why she suddenly terminated contact with him was sentenced to three years for his latest breach.

“If you love Ms Maitlis as you say you do, you have a very strange way of showing it because you have made her life a misery.” – Judge Rafferty

Sex Appeal

“I’ve just had sex for the first time in five years” Ulrika Jonsson told the media, via The Sun. The former TV-am weather presented said in her tabloid feature that it was “a little story about triumph over pessimism. Success over despondency,” rather than “an overbearing gloat about a dried-up old has-been’s sexual exploits. Nor is it meant as a cheap exposé.”

A refreshing change for The Sun.

“Yes folks, at the age of 52, after a marriage set against a barren sexual landscape and a five-year hiatus — I have had sex.” Jonsson continued. She revealed her sexual re-awakening came thanks to a dating app. “Instead of walking around feeling dead emotionally and sexually, I was able to take my mind back to the passionate person I once was.”

Continuing the story on ITV’s Loose Women she added, “I was promoting a dating app last December and I said, ‘Well if I’m promoting it, I should be on it’.

“I don’t discourage one night stands. I don’t sit there and say, ‘Go out and…’ What I’m saying is absolutely, we were taught as girls you should not sleep with someone on the first date. Why is that? It’s a natural desire, it’s an amazing, wonderful thing, as long as you’re protecting yourself. You should not feel bad about it.”

Rewind: In Brief

Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan explained why she postponed her wedding to footballer fiance, and partner of 10 years, Scott Sinclair. Speaking to The Daily Express she observed ‘we already feel like we’re married’ and added ‘I think it’s just because we’ve been together for so long, we’re just a bit lazy about it.’

Ray Quinn of Brookside, Hollyoaks and X Factor fame is returning to music with a new album. The release, his first in thirteen years, is entitled Undeniable, and showcases a range of ‘covers’. “I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to sing these in my own way and bring something new to songs that date from the ’60s to the present day.”

Tracy Brabin, actress turned MP, raised £20,000 for charity when she auctioned the off-the-shoulder dress which had caused controversy when she wore it in the Commons.

Gemma Collins spoke on her BBC Sounds podcast how she thinks her phone could have been spying on her while she was on the toilet. The self-proclaimed ‘diva’ has stopped taking her mobile into the loo, just in case.

Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher spoke out against rumours his marriage was falling apart. Having become a darling of the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom it was inevitable that the ‘Strictly curse’ gossip would begin flying around. Kelvin however noted his wife has nothing to ‘worry about’ his friendship with his professional dance partner Oti Mabuse is just that, a friendship.

JLS the comeback.  Aston Merrygold, Oritsé Williams, Marvin Humes and JB Gill announced they were reforming JLS for a new tour. The ‘Beat Again’ tour will take place this autumn.

Caroline Flack’s management slammed the Crown Prosecution Service for pressing ahead with what they described as a ‘show trial’. ”The Crown Prosecution Service pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution and had disputed the CPS version of events’ they said in a statement.

Susan Boyle opened up about her sex life, noted Metro Paper, the singer recalled while in America how one date had ‘rubbed her up the right way’.

EastEnders actor Sid Owen spoke of how an accident while on holiday in Thailand left him needing emergency facial surgery. The performer recalled how he had been struck in the face by a rogue ball, resulting in a fractured jaw and the loss of six teeth.

Strictly Supportive

GMTV legend Fiona Phillips recalled how former sofa co-host Eamonn Holmes offered her support when she was suffering from depression.

MSN Entertainment report that she found herself at her lowest ebb while appearing on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing and had failed to win over the judges or her dance partner. Eamonn, she observed, offered a great deal of support during that time while her pro-dancer Brendan Cole was anything but.

“Brendan was a real bugger, actually… He wasn’t very nice. He was really naughty.” – Fiona speaking to The Daily Star

Fiona went onto speak about how Eamonn Holmes knew about her illness and had urged her to get help, but at that time she was in denial. She noted that juggling early mornings on GMTV, training for Strictly and looking after children and family had taken its toll.

Baby News

Pop Idol winner and STV personality Michelle McManus gave birth to her first child, son Harry. Jeremy Kyle also welcomed his first son into the world and Ola Jordan gave birth to a ‘miracle baby girl’ following years of struggling to conceive.

Singer Enrique Iglesias and tennis player Anna Kournikova welcomed their third child together.

Topping three Robbie Williams and Ayda Field welcomed their fourth child into the family. Former Coronation Street star Lucy-Jo Hudson gave birth to her second child, a baby boy and one on the way for PM Boris Johnson with partner Carrie Symonds.

Fern is Fine

Former This Morning and Ready, Steady, Cook host Fern Britton reassured fans that she hadn’t died of coronavirus while on a cruise ship. The telly personality was mistaken for departed when social media users mis-read headlines as ‘Fern Britton dies from coronavirus after being infected on cruise ship’ when the actual headline from Sky News was ‘First Briton dies from coronavirus after being infected on cruise ship’.

The love for Fern, who began her television career in regional ITV at TVS, saw many on social media suggesting she should return to present some episodes of This Morning following the recent successful return of Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan, who now stand-in for Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford during bank-holiday weeks.

In a strange irony, Eamonn, Ruth, Richard and Judy all began their broadcasting careers in local ITV. How times change, these days they’re found on reality TV or on You Tube. If ever there was a reason for bringing back more local ITV programming…

Rewind: In Brief

Coronation Street actress Tina O’Brien decided to cut herself off from social media, noting that it may not be forever but at the moment she felt it had become a ‘toxic relationship’. “I don’t want to scroll through peoples highlight reels and compare myself unfavourably. Wonder do I need to post something to validate who I am and what I stand for? Give everyone a filtered version of my best bits… I’m detoxing from this toxic relationship… see you all in the real world.”

Laurence Fox also has taken an extended break from social media, following his appearance on BBC One political debate show Question Time. Twitter users took umbrage with comments he made and have, according to the actor, made him more and more depressed.

Ozzy Osbourne cancelled his North American tour so that he could undergo further treatment for Parkinson’s disease. His UK tour is still currently planned to take place in October.

Sharon Osbourne came out with platinum blonde locks, having stopped dying her hair red for the first time in eighteen years. It took eight-hours for the stylist to get her look from vibrant red to the more natural colour.

Harry Styles was reportedly robbed at knife point in Hampstead, North London on Valentine’s Day. The singer handed over money during the incident.

Peter Kay announced he will return to the live stage, with a Dance for Life charity show tour later in 2020. The comedian took time off from touring for personal reasons in 2017.

The Sun removed an article mocking Caroline Flack when her death was announced. The item, published the day before her death, discussed a ‘controversial’ valentines day card poking fun at the Love Island host and her December alleged assault of her boyfriend.

Caroline Flack’s inquest was opened and adjourned until August. Last month it was also revealed that the assault case against her was formerly closed, ten days after her suicide.

RIP February 2020

Last month we said farewell to Lee Phillip Bell, the 91-year-old co-created stateside soaps The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. It was also goodbye to US rapper Pop Smoke who died aged 20, DJ and record producer Andrew Weatherall passed away aged 56 and M*A*S*H star Kellye Nakahara died aged 72.

Actor Orson Bean passed aged 91, actor Raphaël Coleman died aged 25, Hollywood icon Kirk Douglas passed away aged 103 while it was farewell to Gang Of Four guitarist Andy Gill who died aged 64.

BBC Radio personality Simon Warr died aged 65, actor Patrick Jordan passed aged 96, actress Frances Cuka died aged 83 and actor John Shrapnel died aged 77.

And of course the much discussed, in the weeks following her death, ITV presenter Caroline Flack passed away aged 40.


The views are those of Vivian Summers and are not endorsed by ATV Today or ATV News UK.

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