Coronation Street’s Sophiya Haque, 41, dies of cancer

Actress Sophiya Haque has died after a short battle with cancer, it has been announced. Sophiya, 41, appeared in Corrie in 2008, playing barmaid Poppy Morales.

Her agent Oliver Thomson spoke about his client after she passed away peacefully in a London hospital, saying: “Sophiya was a wonderful actress, a wonderful client but so much more than that a wonderful friend. She was adored by everyone she worked with and will be deeply missed.”

Sophiya also had a successful stage career and had been appearing in Privates On Parade in the West End when she became ill with pneumonia. It is understood she developed a clot on her lungs.

Her uncle, Syed Haque called her “a loveable person and very beautiful,” the Evening Standard reported.

Review: Tom Daley’s Splash! ITV1. Omid Djalili’s dive saves the day

Omid Djalili after completing his rather impressive dive from the 10m high board

Maybe it was seeing Tom Daley and a few B-list celebrities without many clothes on (I’m thinking the Sugababes girl and Benidorm actor here, rather than Helen Lederer or Omid Djalili)? Or maybe it was the fact that there really wasn’t much else on telly that night and it was a cold evening.

Whatever, it seems that Splash! really did make a Splash! in the ratings on Saturday, reaching over 6 million (sad?) people. Certainly it was as cheesy as hell. Right down there with the rest of ITV’s reality TV programmes. But in my opinion whatever brings the art of diving to a greater audience has to be a good thing.

For years councils up and down the land have been mercilessly ripping out diving boards at local pools for fear of being sued if someone lands on the boards on their head, so it’s about time that diving – one of the most technically complex and frightening of Olympic sports – began to fight back. The show is filmed at the brand spankingly new £26 million Inspire leisure centre in Luton, complete with Olympic sized swimming pool, and rarely has Luton looked this good on camera, thanks largely to some nice red lighting illuminating the boards.

Presented by Gabby Logan and Vernon Kay, who looked like an accountant who has just rolled his trousers up to go for a walk on the beach (those long shorts looked terrible), the show wasn’t without its moments, including Jo Brand’s judging commentary – the wittiest I’ve ever seen her. But if ex-Olympic diver Leon Taylor was supposed to be Simon Cowell (ie the bad guy on the panel) it didn’t really work.

Ultimately the problem with diving as a massive spectator sport is that it’s over in a few seconds. Really I think each of the divers needed to have at least a  couple of dives so there is a bit more to judge them on. Other than the dive off at the end following the cheesy elimination process of the rubbish divers (Helen Lederer being the worst by some distance) we only got to see them once. Perhaps it was because there simply wasn’t time to cram it all in alongside the inevitable emotionally heart wrenching back story about how the contestants were scared out of their wits by water/heights/diving etc.

Still, even if you hated the programme, it was undoubtedly worth watching for Omid Djalili’s performance alone. The actor/comedian is a big fella and when he said he was going off the top 10m board (the height of more than double decker buses) I feared the audience members might be in for a chloriney water soaked shower. Would it be like Peter Kay bombing into the pool in the John Smith’s ad or would it be a fat man embarrassingly belly flopping into the pool? Actually it was neither. It was a fairly decent dive – OK with a bit of over rotation – but better than anything I could do. The man clearly has guts. You can see it here:

You can see the divers who took part in Saturday’s episode below:





Geoffrey Hughes, best known as Coronation Street’s Eddie Yeats, passes away

The actor behind one of the best-loved Coronation Street characters has passed away. Geoffrey Hughes, who played lovable rogue Eddie Yeats from 1974 to 1983, died over the weekend after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 68.

Geoffrey brought a charm and likeability to the character of Eddie and his partnership with Stan and Hilda Ogden, with whom Eddie lodged, was responsible for some of the most memorable character comedy in the soap’s history. It was Eddie who created Hilda’s ‘muriel’ on which was mounted her famous flying ducks and he was always to be found trying to earn a dodgy crust by selling suspect goods while working as a window cleaner or bin man.

As well as Eddie Yeats, Geoffrey is remembered for his turns as Ounslow in Keeping Up Appearances, as Vernon Scripps in Heartbeat and as Twiggy in the Royle Family. In an early role he even provided the voice of Paul McCartney in the Yellow Submarine animated film.

Away from acting, Geoffrey owned a small holding, ran a wood supply company and was even made Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the Isle Of Wight, where he lived with his with Sue.

Here are some classic clips of Geoffrey in action.

It’s reality TV war as Britain’s Got Talent takes on The Voice in ITV/BBC battle

Singer Jessie J: one of the judges on the BBC’s The Voice

So the gloves are off this weekend as a new series of Britain’s Got Talent goes head to head with the Beeb’s latest reality TV show, The Voice – in which the deal is you get to hear the singers without actually seeing what they look like.

Yesterday saw the official launch of a new series of Britain’s Got Talent which marks the return of music supremo Simon Cowell to the UK as well as a new judging panel, including comedian and swimmer David Walliams and singer Alesha Dixon – poached of course from the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Word on the street is that Britain’s Got Talent is a little slicker than before and the acts – at least from the first episode – are a little less ‘out there’ (which sounds a bit of a shame as I liked the more bizarre ones).

Speaking at yesterday’s BGT launch,  Cowell claimed that he is ready for a battle with the BBC and denied accusations that he wanted Tom Jones – one of The Voice’s judging panel – to work for him.

“I think [The Voice] have got themselves in a mess,” said Cowell. “They need to get their sense of humour back.

“I read one thing today and I want to clear the record up. It was intimated that Tom Jones had been offered a role on one of my shows.

“I met the guy once in Vegas and I think the show he must have been talking about was Opportunity Knocks. It wasn’t one of my shows. He might have got the names confused.”

He added: “They are winding this up to be a big battle, but it’s not. The shows go out at the same time and the better one wins.

The Voice airs on BBC1, 7pm and Britain’s Got Talent starts ITV1, 8pm

Paddington Bear voted Britain’s best animated character of all time at British Animation Awards

Paddington Bear and his creator Michael Bond. The bear has been named the nation’s favourite animated character. Image: PA

Paddington Bear has been voted Britain’s best animated character of all time. The cuddly bear from darkest Peru beat a shortlist of other distinguished characters including Super Ted, Aleksandr Meerkat and Wallace and Gromit to the title.

The announcement was made at the ninth British Animation Awards which took place in London. Other winners included The Gruffalo, Aardman Animations and Harry Potter. The Tale of the Three Brothers, part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, picked up the award for best animated sequence in a film.

Gorillaz, the animated band fronted by Blur frontman Damon Albarn, took home one of the public choice awards for best video for their track Stylo. Bertie Crisp by Francesca Adams – voiced by Kathy Burke, Tamsin Greig and Mark Benton – won in the best short film category.

Votes for the public awards were cast at more than 20 screenings across the UK.

Paddington Bear was created by former BBC cameraman Michael Bond, and his first book was published in 1958. The popular stories were first made into an animated TV series in 1975 and have been reimagined a number of times.

The Paddington books have sold more than 35 million copies around the world and have been translated into more than 40 languages.

Below you can see the first Paddington Bear episode on TV from 1975:

TV Review and gallery: Britain’s Got Talent first semi final

It was a night of pyrotechnics and performances, as well as egos as the first semi final of Britain’s Got Talent took place last night. Amanda, Michael and David were joined by king Simon Cowell who walked on to Superman music to cast his beady eye on the first contestants. Although he liked fire entertainment group Girls Roc, the public didn’t agree and the girls were sent home, not before securing a place to perform at Simon’s birthday and without a few bitter words of “the girls never do well.”

If anyone should have been bitter however it should have been Joe, who cycled his way into the top three, only to lose a place in the final to pianist Paul after the four judges took the vore to deadlock – a first in BGT apparently.

Joining him in the final was the 12-year-old Justin Bieber lookalike who received rave reviews from the judges for his performance of Adele’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’ on the ITV1 show.

Others booted off the show was Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator Stuart Arnold and grandaughter and grandad singing duo Ted and Grace, frankly we don’t think Grace will be going round to see her grandad for tea anymore after she failed to use him to get her fame. In fact her plan may have backfired completely with all the judges saying they’d like to see more of the 93 year old, rather than what we think was a bad Gwen Stefani wannabe.

Meanwhile, hosts Ant and Dec took the opportunity to poke fun at Simon, who reportedly axed Cheryl Cole from the US version of ‘The X Factor’ because of her strong Geordie accent.

They joked: “Before we start Simon, can you understand our accents OK?”

The red-faced TV boss brushed off the comment, saying: “Why, has something happened? Sorry I’ve been away.”

Just another BGT night.

Coronation Street’s Rosie Webster wants Katie Price style makeover with lottery win

Cotonation Street’s glamorous Rosie Webster

Coronation Street’s Rosie Webster (Helen Flangan) wants to use her Dad Kevin Webster’s lottery money to turn her into the next Katie Price.

The wannabe glamour girl is thrilled when she finds out that dad Kevin wins £200,000 on a scratch card and although he manages to hold on to the cash during his bitter divorce battle with Rosie’s mum Sally, his conscience gets the better of him and he eventually gives her the money.

While Sally is keen to spend the money on some garden furniture, Rosie wants to emulate the look of her idol by getting some expensive hair extensions.

She tells her mum: “I totally have to have some of those long thick hair extensions like Kate’s got.”

When Sally (Sally Dynevor) struggles to recall a friend of Rosie’s called Kate, her daughter snaps back: “Kate Price, stupid. You know, errr, like Jordan. Oh my God mum, don’t tell me you’ve never heard of Kate Price.”

Kevin (Michael Le Vell) and Sally split last year after she discovered he had fathered a baby with Molly Dobbs, who died in the tram crash.

After he initially wins the money he hopes it will heal their relationship but after spotting Sally kissing her new boyfriend, Jeff, he decides not to tell Sally of his windfall.

But she finds out and tears up the divorce papers, saying she wants a new settlement drawn up.

Take Me Out twins claim producer stitch up

Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness

Identical twins who failed to get a date on the Paddy McGuinness hosted show Take Me Out have claimed they were “stitched up” by show bosses.

Cat and Sam Wilkinson, 21, claim they were ordered to wear tacky matching outfits and have their hair restyled to over exaggerate their likeness.

Cat told The Sun newspaper: “The producers never wanted us to get a date.

“We were only ever put on the show to look like twinnie freaks. Standing there week after week was soul destroying.”

Sam – who had straight dark hair before the show – added: “We were horrified and broke down in tears. But despite begging them to let us go on as ourselves, they refused.

“We had to stand next to each other with our hair made to look over-the-top wild frizzy and these ridiculous clothes.”

Sam and Cat – who were rejected by a total of 52 men across the 14-week series – also claimed the way the programme was edited made them come across as boring and stupid.

Cat said: “Most chats were edited out as if we had nothing to say. We came over as unintelligent fools.”

The pair claim their portrayal on the show has led to them being mocked on the internet.

Cat said: “People posted nasty stuff. We were called Fat and Fatter, and the Ugly Twins. We were just the novelty for viewers to pity.”

However, ITV insist they aim for all their contestants to be chosen.

A source said: “It’s a shame the girls were unhappy as our aim is definitely to get everyone a date.”

Kerry Katona hopes new series shows her in good light

Kerry Katona: The Next Chapter

She’s not exactly been a role model for the past few years. But Kerry Katona hopes her new TV show will prove she is a good mum and has put her drug abuse behind her.

The blonde star has been filmed for the last few months for her new reality series Kerry Katona – The Next Chapter, which debuts tomorrow. And she is confident viewers will see a happier and healthier person compared to the woman they saw in her last programme Kerry Coming Clean.

During that series, the 30-year-old star was seen dealing with her split from estranged husband Mark Croft and trying to get her life back on track after stopping taking cocaine.

When asked if she was worried the public thought she was a bad parent when she was using the Class A drug, the mother-of-four said:

“Yeah 110 per cent, but the thing is my kids – even though I did take drugs – didn’t know anything about that, up until a few months ago when I decided to let them watch the TV show… I may have messed my own life up but my kids were completely protected from all that.”

Kerry – who has two daughters Molly, nine, and Lilly-Sue, seven, from her first marriage to Brian McFadden, and daughter Heidi, three, and two-year-old son Max with Mark – insists she cares about people’s opinions and is determined to prove she’s turned her life around.

Speaking at the launch of the series at London’s Soho Hotel today Katona (29/3/11), said:

“I think Dancing On Ice showed the public are definitely behind me. We all make mistakes in life, I’m sure you’ve made them, I’ve made them, everyone’s made them, and this new series is showing me turning my life around.

“If it wasn’t for the public I wouldn’t have the job that I have. I wouldn’t have the support that I have, I wouldn’t be doing the most unbelievable job in the world.

“It is important to be liked by the public, I don’t care if some celebrity says, ‘I’m not arsed what they say.’ I am arsed, I am bothered, I’m a mum and my kids get to read the s**t that people print about me, so it is important to be liked by the public. I am like marmite though – you either love me or you hate me. You can’t win everybody’s affection.”

Kerry Katona – The Next Chapter airs on ITV2 on Wednesday March 30 at 9.00pm.

Review: The Only Way is Essex series 2

Only Way is Essex

Yes I know I’m a little bit late with this one considering the hype and knicker – or G-String – twisting everyone has got themselves into over the second series of The Only Way is Essex, which started last week.

Yes, the show which bought us the intellectual words of Vajazzle, shaa’aap and OH MY GOD, returned last week to a right royal Essex fanfare.

If you’re not familiar with the show – OMG – where have you been? it follows “real Essex people” going about their day to day lives which consists mainly of visiting the sunbeds, getting spray tans and showing off those fake boobs.

In last weeks series James continued to ponder losing weight and Amy half-heartedly looked for a salon assistant.

However, there was a shock too with Mark deciding to make an honest woman of long suffering Lauren who despite proclaiming her not so dying love for the Essex Boy, removing a tattoo of his name from her pelvis accepted his proposal.

Oh well any excuse for a honeymoon night Vejazzle although we know it’s not going to last.