Saturday @ Six: Weekly Round-Up

Every week Saturday at Six rounds up the best of the rest from the previous week of media and soap news. Every Saturday, at 6pm. This week its best wishes to Betty Driver, ITV dispatch a detective, Hollyoaks are dressed for winning at the British Soap Awards, there’s a new cast member for New Tricks, Hugh Laurie has taken a musical turn, Liverpudlian legend Ken Dodd wants to revive a classic soap and some golden comedy is to be released on DVD – plus more.


Betty Driver Recovering from pneumonia.

Coronation Street actress Betty Driver – who has played Rovers barmaid Betty Williams nee Turpin since 1969 – is said to be ‘doing well’ after it was revealed last week the 90-year-old was suffering from pneumonia. Last year Driver spent a period in hospital recovering from chest problems but returned to Corrie late last year and continued working up until this latest setback. She was due to film scenes for the saga across this past week

We hope Betty will be back in Weatherfield when she’s good and ready.

Taggart Axed by ITV.

Scottish detective series Taggart has been ditched by ITV only weeks after its production company – STV – settled a legal battle with the London broadcaster. Taggarts future however may not be over, with STV looking into keeping the series as a regional programme. The latest episodes had proved popular in Scotland and in overseas sales. For many fans of the show however it never really has been the same since lead actor Mark McManus. died in 1994.

In an ITV statement the broadcaster said: “Since Taggart was first broadcast in 1983, it has been one of ITV’s most enduring dramas but, reflecting the demands of our audience and as part of the ongoing creative renewal of the ITV1 schedule, our priority is to invest in new and original drama for the channel.”

Last year ITV1 was inundated with angry viewers who were dissatisfied with the ditching of long running police drama The Bill. Taggart is just the latest in a list of long running programmes to be dropped from the schedules. STV however has been given a series of new drama commissions for the ITV network to air later this year.

A Newer Trick

Emily Glenister the 23-year-old daughter of Amanda Redman is to join the cast of popular BBC drama New Tricks for the next series.

Emily will co-star alongside her mother in the latest episodes to be screened on BBC One later this year. With a talented family her performances should be well received. Her father is Hustle star Robert Glenister, and Life on Mars actor Philip Glenister is her uncle.

Musical House

Former Jeeves and Wooster, Blackadder and current House actor Hugh Laurie has turned to singing. Thanks to becoming a sensation in America Laurie has been allowed to surround himself with a brilliant blues ensemble and produce an album entitled Let Them Talk.

The result of the New Orleans jamming session include tracks such as Police Dog Blues, St James Infirmary and You Don’t Know My Mind. It will no doubt prove to be well received in the US and well it is quite a progression from the last time ATV heard him sing – on the Comic Relief version of Bohemian Rhapsody many moons ago.

Liverpool Legend Wants A New Crossroads

Ken Dodd and Noele Gordon in CrossroadsKen Dodd, of the Knotty Ash and Diddy Men, has told the Weekly News that soaps need a kick up the schedules.

I don’t think the soaps are like what they used to be.  I’d change them all and mix them up.  If you took half the cast of EastEnders and swapped them with half the cast of Coronation Street, it would be more fun to watch.  One half would never understand the other half.  One `Aye’ from a Corrie character and all you’d get is `Wot’ from the EastEnder’.” He added “I think I’d stop the soaps and start again”.

Of course there is a whole generation now who think soaps should be sensational drama. There isn’t any chance of them getting back to the days of being about simple storytelling, where the script was the most important thing over gimmicks and visual impact. Ken also has a soft spot for a soap opera he once starred in, Crossroads:

“What a wonderful soap that was, not so much the modern one but the original”. Appearing as himself in 1966 he starred in Britain’s first daily soap back in the days when it was produced in a former theatre and cinema and had those legendary less-than-sturdy sets.

“Have you noticed that after they took it off screen, we had to start recycling our cardboard?  That was because they stopped using it to make Crossroads scenery” He said tongue in cheek.

Speaking of Liverpool…


Lee Brady – who has written several articles for ATV Today about his favourite TV serial Brookside – has ended up in a little bit of bother this week with the police. Following the East Anglian Daily Times being so pushed for any real news they resorted to trawling Ebay for stories, a police investigation started into Lee selling part of an ‘Ancient Monument’.

So you’d think for such use of police resources Lee had taken a sledge hammer to the ruins of Bury St Edmunds’ Abbey. No, he simply picked a loose bit of it from the ground and decided to flog it on Ebay – following a trend on the site in recent times to sell bits of leftover buildings – the BBC Pebble Mill Studios and Trinity Square Car Park all previously having chucks sold on the auction site.

Last week the East Anglian Daily Times revealed how a piece of the foundations of the town’s Abbey ruins, an 11th Century ancient scheduled monument, had been put up for sale on Ebay

Lee says: “I never thought what I was doing was ‘theft’ or a really bad thing. I have never been arrested. It was scary, to be honest. But I gave the police the small piece of stone back and was totally honest with them. I just thought of it as a good thing in that it would be nice that someone could have a small piece of history to tell their kids about.

“I’m sorry for this total mess and sorry to the people of Bury. I did not do any damage to the site – I just picked it up from the floor and put it on Ebay and then all of this has happened.”

So there we go, if you’re going to take leftover loose bits of a ruined old relic make sure you don’t tell anyone, and just stick them in your garden shrubs. Or tell Tony Robinson and he can get his No More Nails out and hopefully find the hole to glue it back into place. In times of police cost cuts it’s pleasing to see they still have money to waste. Now how about some criminals…

Hollyoaks Are Dressed for Success.

The Hollyoaks press office have revealed their cast will be dressed up to the nines for the forthcoming British Soap Awards 2011. Yes brands that the girls will be wearing include Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen and Armani  Exchange while the boys will have fashions by Louis Copeland, Topman and Debenhams. Now you may be thinking what I’m thinking – the cast of Hollyoaks will be wearing clothes? How rare! But good luck to them it’s a serial often over looked and wrongly so.

Tickle Your Funnybone

Well if you’re like Ken Dodd and disenchanted with the current banal television output, why not slip in a DVD? Network DVD are pleased to announce a lot of sitcom releases to come over the coming weeks.

The Upper Hand: The Complete Seventh Series – Joe McGann, Diana Weston and Honor Blackman star in the hugely popular ITV sitcom.  And is released on 20th June 2011

Keep it in the Family: The Complete Second Series – Revisit the chaotic and wonderful household of Dudley and Muriel Rush and their lively, insuppressible daughters in the classic Thames Television comedy. Release Date is set for 27th June 2011.

Moody and Pegg: The Complete Second Series – Feuding flatmates Daphne Pegg and Roland Moody are reunited in this cleverly scripted, bittersweet comedy-drama. Starring Judy Cornwell (Keeping Up Appearances) and Derek Waring (Z Cars). The DVD will be on sale from 27th of June 2011.

And in May Spinning off from the hugely successful No Honestly previously released by Network DVD, Yes Honestly will be an online-exclusive at from 30th of this month. Matthew and Lily make a charming young couple, despite their differences, they seem to encounter more than their fair share of obstacles and inconveniences, including visits from Lily’s eccentric Russian family and Matt’s dreaded mother.

Quote of the Week

“We’re in it to win it, for sure” says Simon Webbe of boyband Blue on their Eurovision entry. The band, representing the UK, have some tough competition including former X Factor joke-act Jedward, whom have proved to be a hit in their homeland of Ireland, and worryingly seem to be proving popular with the people of Europe.

And I thought Dustin the RTE Turkey was a terrible musical joke from Ireland last year. Come back Johnny Logan – all really is forgiven.