ALISON BOSHOFF: It's a no from Amanda…BGT star quits talent agency
ALISON BOSHOFF: It’s a no from Amanda… Britain’s Got Talent star quits top talent agency
Power blondes Amanda Holden and Emily Atack have sensationally both quit the talent agency YMU.
This is awkward as Holden’s husband Chris Hughes is a senior agent there. Atack’s sister Martha was also an agent with the firm but has left as well.
Holden, 52, is one of the most successful TV presenters in Britain, with her long-standing role on the judging panel of Britain’s Got Talent. Recently she also fronted Sex: A Bonkers History, for Sky.
She had been with YMU for many years. They represent a lot of the biggest stars on UK television including Ant and Dec, Davina McCall, Paddy McGuinness, Richard and Judy, Graham Norton, Claudia Winkleman, David Walliams, Alex Jones and Ben Shephard.
However the agency has hit a troubled period, with large debts, and Holden’s husband — who looks after Simon Cowell —stepped down as a director of YMU earlier this year. It’s not known whether he intends to follow her out of the door.
Amanda Holden is one of the most successful TV presenters in Britain, with her long-standing role on the judging panel of Britain’s Got Talent
Emily Atack, meanwhile, has enjoyed a successful career, particularly after appearing on I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here in 2018
The pair’s departure is awkward as Holden’s husband Chris Hughes is a senior agent at YMU
Atack, meanwhile, has enjoyed a successful career, particularly after appearing on I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here in 2018. Earlier this year she fronted a documentary about online sexual harassment, Asking For It?
In August, YMU announced it was making nine per cent of staff redundant and that a restructuring was to take place, with key lender Permira Credit becoming its majority shareholder. This came after an independent review to assess routes to a firmer financial footing following a testing post-pandemic period.
Filings at Companies House show YMU had debts of £74.7 million.
In July the company’s Global MD for Entertainment Holly Bott, who represents Claudia Winkleman among others, resigned. It’s thought she will be starting her own talent agency.
YMU began life as James Grant and was set up in 1984 by former Radio 1 DJ Peter Powell and his pal Russ Lindsay. In 2008 the company was bought by media group Formation then sold a year later to a private equity firm. In 2014, buyout firm Metric Capital took over before it was sold to Trilantic and rebranded as YMU.
The company managed both Phillip Schofield and his This Morning co-star Holly Willoughby, but she left in August 2020.
Schofield was dumped by the agency after his affair with a male This Morning colleague 30 years his junior emerged in May. YMU also employs Schofield’s daughter, Molly, as a talent manager.
A YMU spokesman said: ‘For all major agencies, people coming and going is a normal part of the business. We wish Amanda and Emily all the best for the future.
‘This year, we have been pleased to welcome many new clients, including Paris Hilton, Mrs Hinch and more recently, Nicole Scherzinger.’
Sir David Attenborough, about to return to our screens for Planet Earth III aged 97, announced that he was going to retire from wildlife filmmaking . . . in 1989!
As he prepares to present and narrate the first episode of the new series on BBC1 this Sunday, the documentary’s executive producer Mike Gunton has revealed Sir David said he was quitting while filming the Trials Of Life in America 34 years ago.
Sir David Attenborough first announced he was going to retire from wildlife filmmaking in 1989
Sir David will present and narrate the first episode of a new BBC series this Sunday, aged 97
Executive producer on the upcoming BBC documentary, Mike Gunton, said that Sir David had made the comment about his retirement while filming Trials Of Life in America 34 years ago
‘We were travelling across Wyoming when David said: ‘I’ve now almost completed a series about animal behaviour — Trials Of Life — having already made ones about evolution and ecology. Now that I’ve done all three, I’m going to retire from filmmaking.’
Gunton was so convinced the presenter meant it that in the next town he went into a shop that sold cowboy accessories — and bought a pair of spurs.
‘I was going to present them to David when we’d finished filming The Trials Of Life and say: ‘Here you are, David now you can hang up your spurs.’ To this day, for very obvious reasons, I still have them!’
Nicole Scherzinger has won rave reviews for her ‘electrifying’ Norma Desmond in the radical new production of Sunset Boulevard enjoying a limited run at London’s Savoy Theatre until January.
The former Pussycat Doll says: ‘It truly has changed my life and I’ve never been more proud of anything I’ve ever done.’
Lyricist Don Black raved after the first night: ‘Every word — every comma — she bites lumps out of the songs.’
Nicole Scherzinger has won rave reviews for her ‘electrifying’ Norma Desmond in the radical new production of Sunset Boulevard
And Andrew Lloyd Webber looked proudly on. The composer, 75, finds his musicals are enjoying radical reinventions around the globe. Cats is being reimagined as a queer ball in a New York production which will open next year. Meanwhile Ivo van Hove — behind A Little Life in London — is preparing a production of Jesus Christ Superstar in Amsterdam next year in which Jesus and his disciples will wear hoodies.
Lloyd Webber says of the moves: ‘It’s very interesting to me to hear new minds and see new ideas. Some of them I’m going to like and some of them I’m not.’
Lloyd Webber was famously peeved with leading lady Scherzinger in 2016 when she first accepted, and then declined, his offer to take her Grizabella to Cats on Broadway. He memorably said she had made him look ‘like an absolute twot’ by dropping out a week before they were due to start rehearsing — in favour of a slot on The X Factor judging panel.
Three years later she was ‘devastated’ not to even be called to audition as Grizabella in the film version of Cats (a blessing in disguise.) Happily the pair have clearly put all of that drama behind them.
Steve Coogan told the Radio Times he believes controversial Jimmy Savile drama The Reckoning ‘will vindicate itself’.
The jury is still out on that one, with some thinking that any attempt to turn the horrific crimes of BBC star Savile into a drama was misconceived. Others feel it let his employers at the BBC off too easily.
The process of developing a drama about the prolific paedophile was fraught and it has already been reported that the show was delayed for months by agonising over Savile’s portrayal.
Steve Coogan told the Radio Times he believes controversial Jimmy Savile drama The Reckoning ‘will vindicate itself’
Now it can be revealed The Reckoning had two directors, one of whom has ‘chosen’ not to be credited.
The first director hired was Sandra Goldbacher, well-known for directing Jenna Coleman in Victoria and Sarah Lancashire in The Accident.
I’m told she completed around half of the 16-week shoot and was initially enthusiastic about having the chance to give survivors of his attacks their voice. In a Press release in September last year she said: ‘I feel sure that Steve Coogan’s powerful performance as Savile will create a debate around how the cult of celebrity cloaked him from scrutiny.’
She even helped with the casting of Coogan (pictured).
However she left ‘by mutual agreement’ during the filming and wasn’t there at the series launch.
Goldbacher was replaced by David Blair, a Bafta-winner known for Care and The Lakes.
He completed the show but his name is not included in the on-screen credits and he also wasn’t present at the series launch.
In an interview before broadcast, Coogan said: ‘The BBC are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, and I believe the correct choice is to be damned if they do.
‘Broadly, it’s better to talk about something than not. The team had the right attitude and it was done with the cooperation of survivors. I think when it’s broadcast, it will vindicate itself.’
Barbie director Greta Gerwig, seen here with Margo Robbie, said that she was having a ‘nightmare’ writing two upcoming Chronicles Of Narnia films
Barbie director Greta Gerwig told the BFI London Film Festival last week that she is having a ‘nightmare’ writing her new project: two Chronicles Of Narnia films, based on C.S. Lewis’s beloved novels, for Netflix.
Greta (pictured with Barbie star Margot Robbie) said: ‘I’m working on something right now, but I’m in the writing process and it’s hard and I’m having recurring nightmares.’
No wonder she is fretful: nothing is likely to live up to smash-hit Barbie, commercially at least. It has now taken $1.4 billion worldwide, making it the biggest film of the year — and the 14th biggest grosser of all time, just behind Frozen II and Top Gun: Maverick.
Repair Shop presenter Jay Blades has formed a friendship with King Charles and is a fan of his clothes.
Speaking on the Rosebud podcast, he said: ‘I admire his style. He’s got a beautiful overcoat and his double-breasted suits are to die for.’ Blades, who filmed with Charles in Dumfries in a guest one-off special of his TV show, added: ‘I had a kilt made and he just said to me ‘Jay, look, you’re missing something’.
‘I didn’t have a sporran, which wasn’t good. And basically he told me about a shop I should go to. So they’ve made me two special ones.’
Repair Shop presenter Jay Blades has formed a friendship with King Charles
Ricky Gervais shares his life during his hugely successful stand-up shows, but says he would never make a film about himself and the thought of publishing an autobiography gives him ‘the creeps’. He told his online followers: ‘I could publish a diary and then go ‘don’t read this ’til I’m dead!’ so I didn’t have to get all the reaction.’
J.K. Rowling’s status as a lightning rod in the trans debate has had zero effect on her book sales. The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith — her nom de plume — debuted at No 1 in the hardback fiction chart and although it’s proved powerless against mighty Richard Osman, it’s still the second fastest-selling adult fiction title of the year.
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