EASTENDERS NEWS: MEET THE NEW JOHNNY CARTER AS TED REILLY JOINS THE CAST 0 254

EastEnders bosses have found their new Johnny Carter, with actor Ted Reilly taking over the popular role.

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Reilly will play the recast version of Danny Dyer’s on-screen son when Johnny returns to our screens later this year.

The character of Johnny was last seen on screen on Christmas Day 2014.

Johnny will be heading back to Albert Square after spending time travelling abroad, and it’s thought that show chiefs have some big storylines in store for him.

New recruit Reilly has previously appeared in a number of television dramas, including Grantchester, Call The Midwife, Law & Order: UK, Casualty and Suspects. He’s also worked on several theatre productions.

“Johnny is a key member of the Carter family and he’s been missing over the past year and a half, when so much has happened to the Carters,” executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins explained. “As the family embark on their next big storyline to take them through 2016, it felt wrong not to have Johnny back to play a big part in that – and learn everything that has happened while he has been away… We have so much in store for Johnny and so many stories to tell and, after massive casting sessions and recalls with Danny and Kellie, we have found in Ted not only a brilliant actor, but the perfect Johnny Carter.”

Reilly added: “I’m truly delighted to be joining such an iconic show. The Carters are a fantastic family and I can’t wait to get started.”

A source close to Ted said: “He knows this is a big chance for him and he is really excited about joining the soap. Johnny was a controversial character before with lots of big storylines so he will come back onto the show with a bang.”

EastEnders bosses announced their decision to recast Johnny earlier this month. The popular character was previously played by Sam Strike for a one-year stint from December 2013.

Discussing the recast plan last week, a show spokesperson explained: “There are so many more stories that we wanted to tell with Johnny, so we felt that the time was right to unite the Carter family again.

“The Carter family quickly became one of EastEnders’s most iconic families and there are lots of stories planned for them, but it was felt it would be a shame if those stories had to be told without Johnny’s involvement.”

Strike later exclusively told us that he wasn’t ready to return himself, having left to pursue other acting projects.

He added: “I think it’s a great thing and that the character needs a facelift – and I wish whoever lands it the best of luck.”

Strike’s portrayal of Johnny was met with critical praise, specifically the scenes where Johnny came out to his father. Both Strike’s and Danny Dyer’s (aka Mick Carter) sensitive performances during this scene were praised.

On this particular scene, Strike said, “With that scene where Johnny comes out to Mick, I was really nervous the night it aired, because you want it to look convincing but then you want to do justice by the people that have been there and done it. It was a real proving ground for me, because it was the first time I actually had to do any proper drama acting.” In an online video on the official website, Strike said, “I’ve had letters and Danny’s had letters saying that we’d helped people to come out, and it makes things worth it.

After Strike’s departure, EastEnders’ executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said that he has no plans to recast the character of Johnny and that the “door is wide open” for Strike to return. He also added that he would “hope that Sam would come back”.

Since leaving the soap, Strike has been cast in upcoming crime drama film Bonded By Blood 2, which is set to be released in March 2016.

He has also had been cast as Jackson Sawyer, the teenager who became Leatherface, in the upcoming The Texas Chain Saw Massacre prequel Leatherface, Starring alongside Stephen Dorff, the film which is set to be released in late 2016 revolves around a teenage Leatherface who escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnaps a young nurse and takes her on a road trip from hell. Along the way, they are pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge. It is written by Seth M. Sherwood and set to be directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo. Filming began 18 May 2015 in Bulgaria and ended on 19 June 2015. He also starred in Silent Witness in January 2016.

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CORONATION STREET ANNOUNCES HISTORIC SEX ABUSE STORYLINE 0 44

Coronation Street is to explore the devastating effects of historic child sexual abuse within a family. 

Gemma Winter’s world is set to be torn apart when it is revealed that her twin brother Paul was sexually abused by their stepdad Kel. 

In the coming weeks Kel will come back into their lives when Gemma and Paul’s mum Bernie is reunited with her ex. 

It soon becomes evident that whilst Gemma and Bernie welcome Kel back into the fold, Paul is unnerved by his return and is struggling having him around. 

Unbeknownst to Gemma and Bernie, Paul was sexually abused as a young teenager by Kel and the innocent boy was groomed into believing he and Kel were in a consensual relationship. 

However, when Paul’s partner Billy Mayhew discovers his secret he points out to Paul that he was a young child and was in fact being sexually abused by Kel. 

The heartbreaking story will explore Paul’s struggle to come to terms with what happened to him and his ultimate fight for justice. As the story develops Bernie will find it difficult to cope with the fact that she had no idea what was going on under her own roof. 

Coronation Street producers and writers are working closely with Survivors Manchester who are advising on the story. 

Producer Iain MacLeod said: “Gemma and Paul’s family background has always been fascinating to me – the inseparable bond of twins but with a huge fault-line down the middle, which we’ve hinted at but never explained. This story sensitively explores something that is tragically all too common in families in the real world and will highlight the way these painful events still reverberate many years later. It will, I hope, allow people who have survived similar abuse and perhaps suffered in silence to find their voice and speak up. It will also showcase the brilliant talents of Peter Ash, Dolly-Rose Campbell, Jane Hazlegrove and Corrie newcomer Joe Alessi in some incredibly challenging, powerful scenes. I am very proud of this story.” 

Peter Ash said: “I have known about this storyline for some time so have had the opportunity to speak to Duncan Craig at Survivors Manchester in advance of filming which has been great. His experience was really similar to Paul’s so it was invaluable for me to be able to talk about all the conflicting emotions and not accepting or realising it was abuse until later on in life.  I have also spoken to Jack P Shepherd about how he found filming the male rape storyline and he told me about the increase in calls to Survivors Manchester off the back of it which is incredible. It’s an important storyline and I want to get it right.” 

Duncan Craig from Survivors Manchester said: “Following on from our work on the David Platt rape storyline, I am delighted that Coronation Street have once again asked us at Survivors Manchester to help them with this sensitive storyline. We learned so much together before and the effort made last time is allowing us to tackle the finer and complex details of Paul’s feelings and behaviour. This story is going to resonate with so many male survivors, I’m proud of Coronation Street for committing to making sure it’s right.“Peter (Ash) and I have been talking a lot about how Paul would be feeling and I have shared some of my own experiences of breaking my silence which Peter has handled with so much care. I know this story will be difficult but as a survivor I have to say it is vital if we are to understand male sexual violence and abuse. Well done Corrie for being brave enough to tell this true story.“Once again, I’m proud to stand with Coronation Street in telling a difficult story as truthfully and as sensitively as possible. Their commitment to being authentic to real life issues is inspiring and I know first-hand the actual impact of these stories being told – our last piece of work together resulted in a 1700% increase in calls to the male survivor helpline!”

TODRICK HALL JOINS THE GREATEST DANCER 0 43

American star of stage and screen Todrick Hall joins Cheryl, Matthew Morrison and Oti Mabuse as the new fourth Dance Captain on The Greatest Dancer, which returns to BBC One in early 2020.

Todrick is a choreographer, actor, dancer, singer, songwriter and director, who has choreographed videos for global superstars including Beyoncé, and most recently starred in and co-executive produced the music video to Taylor Swift’s hit single You Need To Calm Down. He is a recurring judge and resident choreographer on RuPaul’s Drag Race in the USA.

Todrick Hall says: “Thrilled does not even begin to explain how excited I am to be joining the cast and crew of The Greatest Dancer. As a performer who has danced my whole life and been a contestant on a reality competition show, it’s wild to see my career come full circle this way. I’m looking forward to working with the upcoming talent and to join the BBC family for the second season of a show that has proven to be a huge, smashing success.”

Joining Todrick will be fellow Dance Captains all returning from series one, multi-platinum-selling singer Cheryl; Broadway and Glee star Matthew Morrison; and Strictly Come Dancing professional and reigning series one champion, Oti Mabuse. Also back for series two are hosts Alesha Dixon and Jordan Banjo.

Taking over reception will be Ballroom and Latin dance champion and Love Island 2019 finalist Curtis Prichard, who will be welcoming hopefuls to The Greatest Dancer studio as they prepare for the biggest audition of their lives.

Cheryl says: “I am so excited to be back, I absolutely loved it last series and this year promises to be even more amazing, especially with the addition of Todrick, who I’m obsessed with!”

Matthew Morrison says: “Season one of The Greatest Dancer was such a rewarding experience to be a part of. Alongside Oti and Cheryl, it was a privilege to help guide the immense talent who showed us all just how inspiring dance can be. I look forward to seeing how we push the boundaries throughout season two in order to crown our next Greatest Dancer!”

Oti Mabuse said: “I cannot wait to get back to work on The Greatest Dancer with this fantastic team, Cheryl, Matthew, Alesha and Jordan and welcoming newest captain Todrick and receptionist Curtis to the family. I’m excited to see the fresh new talented dancers who are auditioning and ready to leave their hearts on the floor and see who the mirror opens for! Plus I can’t wait to see my amazing winner Ellie perform at Strictly Come Dancing, she’s such a superstar and I’m exceptionally proud of her.”

Auditions for The Greatest Dancer, a co-production between creators Thames (part of Fremantle UK), and Syco Entertainment began on Friday 9 August at the ICC in Birmingham with the series due to air in early 2020. Viewers can get ready to see talent from across the world of dance from ballet to jazz, street to ballroom, contemporary to disco and see if they have what it takes to get 75 percent of the audience vote and open the famous The Greatest Dancer mirror.