Ant’s Sunday Night Driveaway


During the month of March there was no bigger story than the spectacular fall from grace of Anthony McPartlin. As one half of Ant & Dec, the cheeky Geordies who bestrode the world of light entertainment like two bonsai colossi for several decades, Ant had everything going for him – until he admitted to an addiction to prescription painkillers last year before checking himself into the celebrities’ drying-out spot of choice, The Priory. The collapse of his marriage shortly followed but he appeared to have recovered and soon made his way to join Dec in the Australian jungle for another series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! The duo seemed rock solid and returned to presenting duties for their popular family entertainment show, Saturday Night Takeaway – until, that is, disaster struck on the evening of Sunday the 18th of March. An admittedly appalling driver, Ant was involved in a three-car pile-up in which a three- year-old girl was rushed to hospital from the scene of the crash. Most shamefully Ant, who was seen shouting angrily at his mother, a woman he has frequently described as “my rock” and who was a passenger in his Mini, failed a breathalyser test at the scene and has been charged with drink driving. Admitting to a painkiller addiction and seeking the necessary treatment and being caught bang to rights for driving while intoxicated are two very different things and showbiz commentators are already wondering whether this is the end for the cheeky, chirpy duo.

The Wedding List

We think that our invitations were somehow lost in the post, but with only weeks to go until the wedding of the year, speculation is rife as to who is on the guest list for the Markle-Windsor nuptials. Unlike Meghan, Harry might not have anything as embarrassing as a former spouse, but he still has some ex-girlfriends to please and it has been rumoured that Chelsy Davy, Ellie Goulding and Cressida Bonas, among other old flames, will attend the ceremony. Of course, there are those who would sooner set fire to their intimate wear than have to run the gauntlet of their romantic ghosts, but Prince Hal obviously has bags of charm, since he has managed to remain good friends with all of his ex-girlfriends. It has been claimed that Meghan’s reclusive father will be on hand to walk his daughter down the aisle for the second time – and we can only hope that Harry’s nan will also be on hand to lead the conga line. With the Duchess of Cambridge’s third baby due soon, all eyes will be on the House of Windsor.

Drew vs Jake?

She is probably as well known for her rackety private life as she is for her acting career while he is one of Hollywood’s hottest stars, but that didn’t stop Drew Barrymore from taking a pop at her Donnie Darko co-star Jake Gyllenhaal when she appeared on The Late Late Show recently. Challenged by host James Corden to rank her co-stars from most talented to least, Barrymore confessed that she rated Adam Sandler most highly, but Gyllenhaal ranked at the bottom of the pile. Barrymore, who played Donnie’s English teacher Karen Pomeroy in the 2001 film was admittedly facing the ‘Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts’ challenge, which meant that it was either encountering the wrath of Jake or being forced to eat turkey testicles and she did seem contrite. She said: “When I run into him next time, I’ll be like, ‘Dude, it was selling you down the river or eating a turkey’s balls’. I don’t care if he hates me – I’m doing this because I won’t make it.” Sadly, we have yet to hear a response from Jake Gyllenhaal although, to be completely fair, he did make Donnie Darko very early in his career.

Rod on Elt’s Farewell Tour

They are the best of friends and call each other Sharon (Elton) and Phyllis (Rod), so Rod Stewart couldn’t help having a little camp fun at the expense of his old mate when he appeared on Watch What Happens Live. Labelling Elton John’s extravagant farewell tour a cynical marketing ploy, Rod said, “I did e-mail him and said, ‘What, again dear?’ but I didn’t hear anything back. I don’t think this big deal of saying ‘I’m going to retire’ is good, it stinks of selling tickets!” In case viewers of this American show didn’t understand Rod’s rough British sense of humour, he was quick to come to the defence of his friend when the subject of the recent incident when he stormed offstage in Las Vegas came up. “I can see why he got p****d off with it,” said Rod. Demonstrating how one fan kept tapping Elton on the shoulder - with the assistance of fellow guest, Cyndi Lauper - he continued, “I sort of understand because the person kept going like that.” Obviously, Rod is made of sterner stuff, because he went on to admit that he thrives on fans becoming over-enthusiastic: “I’ve been up on stage and had people coming up and nearly knock my teeth out, take my trousers off. I love it.” I only wish I’d known that when I saw Rod in concert in the 1980s!  

Snow Patrol Back on Patrol?

Even at the height of their popularity they were often considered a bit Coldplay, a bit safe with their crowd-pleasing tunes and easy-to-sing choruses, so it’s not surprising that frontman Gary Lightbody shocked the music world recently when he confessed to a secret seven-year battle with the bottle and depression. Apparently, the situation dated back to his teenage years but completely spiralled out of control more recently when his father was diagnosed with dementia. Having managed to stay sober for two years, Lightbody revealed, in an interview with Radio Two DJ Jo Whiley, that the band is getting ready to release a new album: “It's been a while, it's seven years since our last album but it's nice, it gives you that kind of Christmassy feeling where you've got expectation and that bit of nerves.” He even had some good news to report about his beloved dad’s health, saying, “My dad is OK, he's 80 and three years ago he was diagnosed with dementia. You know, every day is different but there are days when he is on top form. It was his 80th birthday recently and he was fantastic, he did a speech, an impromptu speech with family, there were about 40 of us at our local pub…and he made a speech that was very touching, very funny." Here’s hoping that Wildness – the new offering – reaches the dizzy heights of their 2006 breakthrough album, Eyes Open.


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