Bank Holiday At Six: Weekly Round-Up

In this week’s Bank Holiday issue of ‘at Six’ we look at why Harris Tweed is getting their jackets in a twist with Doctor Who, Christine Bleakley’s bizarre phobia, why the BBC want to get a touch of X Factor on Strictly Come Dancing, Joanna Lumley wants to return to Weatherfield, how the BAFTA’s prestigious reputation fell into the gutter with its You Tube award and much more including the departures from Neighbours, Emmerdale and viewers from Hollyoaks.

Soap Awards 2011

There is a couple of things you can be sure of after the British (TV) Soap Awards every year. Coronation Street if they lose will be far from gracious in defeat, Hollyoaks will win something the majority of soap viewers don’t care about as they don’t know who the person is or what the plot is about and people will complain that EastEnders was overly gifted due to ‘youth voting’.

This year was no exception. As we suggested Hollyoaks did win and no one really knew who they were, Coronation Street cast were far from dignified in defeat and a large chunk of soap fans moaned that EastEnders won best soap thanks to the ‘kiddie vote.’ Ah well, maybe next year Corrie viewers will make an effort to vote and make their cast happy, Hollyoaks will somehow become a huge ratings hit so we all know who everyone is and EastEnders’ teen viewers will forget how to vote. There is of course more chance of Ken Barlow having a sex chance than any of that happening.

Soap Departures

Yes the world of soap is to say goodbye to several actors over the coming months, Pauline Quirke is departing Emmerdale while Rula Lenska is to bid farewell to Coronation Street along with Sacha Parkinson, Will Thorp, Holly Quin-Ankrah and Flinton Flyn and over in Australia Janet Andrewartha is saying goodbye to Neighbours – again.

On her Ramsay Street farewell Andrewatha told Australia’s TV Week “I originally came back in a guest role and ended up staying almost two years, so the extra time has been a bonus. It’s been tremendous fun and I’ll miss it, but it’s time to try some new things.”

To some of us soap fans of course she’ll always be Reb Kean the toughie inmate of Prisoner: Cell Block H.

Others waiting in the soap departure lounge include Suzanne Shaw who recently revealed that her departure from Emmerdale is expected to be a quiet low key one. Speaking to Digital Spy she said “Thankfully, they’re not killing me off, so I do have the option to come back.”

Not What The Doctor Ordered

Makers of Harris Tweed have been indignant with the BBC after Doctor Who producers swapped the Timelord’s Hebridean handwoven jacket for a replica.

Makers of the cloth were thrilled when the Doctor, played by Matt Smith, opted for a vintage 1960s jacket …for his adventures in time and space.

Scotland’s Sunday Herald newspaper recently reported that the Doctor had worn a genuine Harris Tweed during the first series starring Matt Smith but the more recent episodes have seen the actor adorned in a part-acrylic recreation.

A spokesman for the BBC told the Sunday Herald: “The tweed changed because they needed a warmer jacket for outside filming”.

However Lydia Walton, a spokesman for Harris Tweed Scotland said: “Harris Tweed is so special as it is woven by hand on the Western Isles and every 50 metres is stamped by the Harris Tweed authority. It is steeped in romance and history.” They branded the replica as cheap and tacky.

Ms Walton added: “I find it very odd that they would use a replica costing £360 when our genuine Harris Tweed jackets retail at £250. Why pay more for a replica than have the original?”

Mad Hatter

Princess Beatrice’s hat that caused such a storm at William and Kate’s wedding eventually raised £81,100.01. This despite being likened by some to a toilet seat, giant pretzel, a cat flap, Turkey Twizzler and fallopian tubes. Its amazing what you can sell in the name of charity. Maybe we could get a few quid for something else that’s been seen by millions on TV and remains much mocked – how about Ann Widdecomb. Oh no, what a terrible thought another BBC reality series, Strictly Hat Making. Let’s not give them ideas.

In Brief

  • Joanna Lumley would like to return to Coronation Street, she was last in it in 1973 as Elaine Perkins, girlfriend of Ken Barlow. In The Sun she is quoted as saying “I loved doing that show”.

  • Woman of a thousand voices, Janet Brown, has died aged 87. She was at her height in the 1970s where she took on the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Noele Gordon.

  • Jedward want to be judges on The X Factor. Edward told The Daily Express “Louis Walsh is our Manager and he’s all alone. He needs some friends on the panel.  We don’t need to take up 2 places, we could have a double seat or sit either side of him”.

  • Former Coronation Street actor Ian Mercer – who played Gary Mallett in the ITV soap between 1995 and 2000 – has been accused of falsely claiming £2,300 in council tax benefit. 49-year-old Mercer who recently starrted in the latest Disney movie Pirates of the Caribbean alongside Johnny Depp was accused of falsely claiming council tax benefit for 12 months prior to the end of his marriage in 2009. He suggests it was an oversight, Magistrates were told.

  • Sad news for men of a certain age who enjoyed Thursday nights far too much thanks to Flick Colby – the dancer and choreographer has died aged just 65. Flick, who co-founded dance troupe Pan’s People, died of bronchial pneumonia at her home in New York. She became a hit with young men thanks to her weekly performances in Pan’s People on music show Top of the Pops across the 1970s. The group also made appearances on comedies The Two Ronnies with Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett and Sez Les with Les Dawson.

  • Downtown Abbey Star Hugh Bonneville is not surprised it lost out to The Only Way Is Essex at the BAFTA’s as the award was voted for by You-Tube fans.  “I’m not sure that the Downtown audience would know how to use You-Tube” he told The Sun. Oh dear, such a prestigious gong-brand tarnished by being given to a low-brow reality series. Whatever next, Hollyoaks winning best continuing serial. Its sacrilege!

  • Actor Jeff Conaway, who was best known for his role in the 1978 film musical Grease, has died, aged 60. He had moderate success on television with roles in Taxi, Babylon 5, The Bold and the Beautiful and a couple of appearances in Murder She Wrote. His private life was however dogged for years with many problems including addiction issues. He’ll of course be forever young as Kenickie for millions of fans of the Grease movie.

  • Daybreak. Is its ratings improving? I notice they have a red sofa now, something we jokingly suggested the show needed last year. Strange really as ITV wanted their new show to be entirely different to GMTV, so how odd when watching last week how it now looks exactly like GMTV used to, just with a ‘well varnished plank of wood’ and ‘a sack of potatos’ as presenters. Even the news and features introduced in September with the Daybreak launch have been watered down into something even more low-brow than GMTV ever was. Still no sign of Roland Rat as yet however, which is a shame.

The Only Way Is Essex – But No Singing!

Headline in The Sun “We’re not gonna make you a Star”. David Essex won’t sing when he joins EastEnders the newspaper reports because bosses have banned him when he joins in the Summer. 63-year-old David will play Eddie Moon, Uncle of Alfie.

Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood said “There is a ban on writers saying `And Eddie takes up the mic’.” It is thought bosses want viewers to see David as a credible actor, not a singer. Younger viewers who do not know of David’s musical background might be put off if his character suddenly starts singing they think. An Insider told The Sun “David is a great actor and producers want to concentrate on that”.

Corrie for Cash

Michelle Collins has revealed the real reason why she joined Coronation Street – It’s to pay for her daughters university education.  Her role as Landlady Stella means that she now has financial security.  She has told The Sun “I am just very happy to be in Coronation St.  It is the only other soap I would want to be in”. But she doesn’t know how long she will stay “I’ve only been there 3 weeks but hopefully I’ll like them and they will like me”.

Bleak Phobia

Christine Bleakley has confessed to a bizarre phobia – robots. “I’m petrified of them” she’s quoted as saying – this despite posing at the National Movie Awards with one of the robot dancers for JLS.

She continued in the Daily Mail, “It must have been from when I was young and watching RoboCop 2.  There’s a scene where a robot goes crazy and kills everyone. Since then I’ve never been able to watch anything to do with robots”. Such a shame she’s not fearful of mornings…

Strictly X Factor

BBC bosses are reportedly keen to sign up former X Factor judge Dannii Minogue as a Strictly Come Dancing contestant. A BBC insider told the Daily Mail “Dannii would be a fantastic name for Strictly. We’d love to see her doing the cha-cha-cha with someone like Brendan Cole”.

New Look Emmerdale

From tonight the long running serial has a new look opening sequence.

ITV describe it as “A modernisation of the iconic show.” ITV Creative commissioned branding agency Lambie-Nairn to produce the re-vamp, which has been undertaken to reflect the programme’s increasingly current content and to celebrate its enduring success, as part of ITV’s long-term investment in Emmerdale’s future. ITV say that “It depicts Emmerdale as a dynamic yet authentic village of hidden depths where what you see isn’t always what you get, whilst maintaining the unique escapism of its stunning rural backdrop.”

A suite of logos have been designed to reflect the different facets of the village including brass and stone versions, whilst the infamous melody of Emmerdale’s theme music remains the same but with a modernised new orchestra recording.

Steve November, Executive Producer says “Our aim is to refresh perceptions of the programme. Emmerdale has a unique voice and we wanted to reinforce that by giving it a fresher, more contemporary feel, to reflect the richness and diversity of its characters and storylines.”

Last week we asked why Emmerdale fails to win big awards. One email to us proved quite an interesting view. The show needs a leading lady again – like Emmerdale Farm of the past when Sheila Mercier was matriach of the dales as Annie Sugden. We earlier touched on Corrie being indignant about losing at the Soap Awards, but of course back in the 1970s they were used to coming second as the late Noele Gordon of Crossroads took the big gongs every year between 1968 and 1978 – there after which she was banned from entering.

So with that in mind, what Emmerdale needs is a strong leading lady who could capture the nations hearts and therefore start winning some big awards. Now who could be the Queen of Home Farm? What is needed is a woman of status. How about Victoria Wood as Acorn Antiques’ Miss Babs? She may fit Emmerdale’s format… Although their aim is to be ITV’s version of Hollyoaks, it seems, so maybe Samantha Fox…

Question of the Week

Where are the Hollyoaks Ratings going? Answers on a postcard…

(Rather silly) Quote of the Week

“Everyone seems to love a friendly serial killer”. Says Graeme Hawley who plays John Stape in Coronation Street.

On the public reaction to his serial killing ways he told The Sun, “Bizzarely the worse this storyline has got, the more people like John.”

Interesting view, I suppose Fred West’s mistake was not to have a chirpy demeanor.

We’ll be back as usual on Saturday.