IT’S always interesting to get a behind-the-scenes snapshot of what life is really like on a well-known TV show.

News that Countdown host Anne Robinson had Rachel Riley’s microphone muted as part of a “toxic” feud is pretty fascinating, isn’t it?

Apparently Anne, 77, thinks Rachel is “too loud” when she is bantering with contestants before filming, and is irritated by her co-star sometimes turning up at the last minute before filming and being on her phone.

Meanwhile, maths whiz Rachel, 35, says she has been silenced.

Of course, this is by no means the first rumour about TV stars not getting along with each other.

Take Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall from Sex And The City, who fell out so badly that the four friends on the show are now just three, since Cattrall refused to join in with the reboot series.

But none of this sounds even at all familiar based on my experience of filming The Apprentice. I can honestly say that my co-presenters have become a bit like family to me.

We enjoy working with each other, enjoy each other’s company — and even go on holiday together. Given how much time you spend filming when you commit to a show, it is beyond me why anyone would agree to be part of one with someone they don’t like. I know I wouldn’t.

'Real team effort'

Yes, sure, The Apprentice has a bit of an edge between the contestants, but between Lord Sugar, Claude Littner and me it is quite the opposite. We all help and support each other. This is vital because we work 16-hour days and have a monstrous schedule.

We cover each other’s back, and look out for each other all the time. It’s always a real team effort. And that’s not just us, it’s the whole prod­uction and film crew, too, which makes the show a joy to work on.

Of course, we all have our own TV personas. Lord Sugar is known for being joyless and strict, whereas in real life he is friendly, funny, good company and a great friend.

Claude is seen as miserable and stern, whereas in reality he is always laughing, generous and good fun. Anne Robinson’s persona appears to be that she is a right cow.

Maybe that’s what she’s like in real life — but maybe not. Maybe it boils down to ego. When co-stars do not get along, perhaps it is because they all want to be the boss or have the most limelight.

Really, a TV show is no different from any office. We all work with people, some more annoying than others, and you have to be professional and unemotional and rise above those things that you might find annoying.

Unpleasant diva

Everyone needs to be seen and heard and everyone needs to be respected.

There is no good throwing your weight around and behaving like a diva. This is not the way to run any organisation, office or TV show.

As a new person on a TV show, as Anne is here, the onus is on you to make all the effort to fit in, make people feel at ease, get to know people, give them your time and listen to them.

If you go into any situation being an unpleasant diva, you’re a liability and it’s the poor backroom team and producers I feel sorry for. A show is hard enough work without having to deal with all that grief.

Obviously, though, all this talk of toxicity has turned into TV gold and Countdown’s ratings have gone through the roof. Still, this kind of toxic atmosphere is never good.

I have learnt from the most competitive team game in the world, football, how important it is to have a healthy and happy work environment. Nothing is achieved alone, everything happens when you pull in the same direction. Maybe Anne and Rachel need to go and see a few football games.

If you go into any situation being an unpleasant diva, you’re a liability and it’s the poor backroom team and producers I feel sorry for.

Kylie’s gone too far

IF you are as rich as any member of the Kardashian family, I can see the temptation to try to give your kids ­everything they could possibly want. But Kylie Jenner has gone too far.

The other day, she flashed a pair of very expensive diamond rings on Instagram. One for her and one for her three-year-old daughter Stormi.

Some people looking at the picture were also speculating on the fact there was a mystery band on Kylie’s wedding finger. But all I could think about was the fact a toddler was wearing a diamond ring.

That really is not what a three-year-old needs or wants.

Amanda and Davina are both the real deal

I AM in awe of Amanda Holden, who is 50, and Davina McCall, 54, after they stripped down to their lingerie to plug the new festive campaign for online retailer JD Williams.

They look incredible and have faced comments from a lot of people claiming they have been Photoshopped.

Well, I can tell you they have not been.

I have seen Davina and Amanda up close.

They are both fantastic-looking, with great figures, and work damn hard at looking that great.

So, I think people should start celebrating them and stop being so snipey.


I’M surprised to hear Hollyoaks actress Sarah Jayne Dunn has been dropped after refusing to remove photos from adult subscription site OnlyFans.

Sarah, 40, who played Mandy Richardson on the Channel 4 soap from 1996 until 2011 then again from 2017, said putting her “sexier, racier” photos on the site was “about empowerment and confidence and having full power over my choices”.

But teen soap Hollyoaks said it was not in line with its target audience and it did not allow cast members to sell such photos.

One of its spokesmen said: “Nobody at the show wishes to condemn people’s personal decisions about OnlyFans or online content – and of course women are free to make their own choices about the sort of photographs they wish to take of themselves – but this was about whether it is something that tallies with the show’s audience.”

I guess it depends on what you think about the whole concept of OnlyFans in the first place.

Darker side

There is an argument that it is soft porn, degrading to women and shouldn’t exist. You do have to wonder if there is a darker side to sites like this – where it leads to or what it leads to.

But it does appear there are double-standards here. Hollyoaks producers have allowed the actresses to do lads’ mags and Hollyoaks calendars, which are clearly sexualised, wearing skimpy bikinis.

Also, some of the storylines in Hollyoaks – drugs, rape, abuse, self-harm and far-right extremism – are hardly wholesome.

They say they are not judging Sarah, but clearly they are.

I guess it’s OK if they are making the money, but not if she is. Although I am amazed she can earn more from OnlyFans, at up to £7K a week, than from Hollyoaks.

In my day, to earn that you would have to be a pop star or A-list actress.


IT is no surprise Owen Paterson ended up resigning after Boris Johnson executed such an extraordinary U-turn on the bid to block his punishment for lobbying.

Last week Paterson was found to have committed an “egregious” breach of parliamentary standards by advocating for two companies, from which he pocketed some £500,000.

He continues to deny any wrongdoing, which is a bit hard to fathom. Still, the former minister declared he is quitting as MP for North Shropshire after the PM effectively cut him adrift.

He said he would continue as a public servant “outside the cruel world of politics”.

This was never going to end well. I admire the PM’s ability to stand up for friends, but as PM he has to see the bigger picture – and finally has.

My advice is to always do the right thing, what-ever the consequences.


IT is so heart-warming to read that the toddler dubbed The Angel Of Kabul has been reunited with his mother, thanks to The Sun on Sunday.

Two-year-old Muhammad Raza survived a suicide bomb after being separated from his family as Afghans scrambled to board mercy flights and escape the Taliban in August.

When The Sun on Sunday found him bandaged in hospital, he had been given a 30 per cent chance of survival and needed multiple surgeries after shrapnel had ripped through his tiny body.

Last week he arrived in Britain on an RAF flight supported by medics and was reunited with his mum, Basbibi, who is 19, and has been given permission to stay here.

Can you imagine the pain and torment she must have felt being separated from her baby – and how happy she must be to be reunited with him?

This is what foreign aid is for – not funding Ethiopian pop groups.

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