STRICTLY 2019: JAMES CRACKNELL OBE JOINS LINE UP 0 53

James Cracknell OBE, is a former rowing World Champion.

The 17th series of the NTA and Bafta award-winning entertainment show produced by BBC Studios will return in the autumn on BBC One putting the sparkle back into Saturday and Sunday nights.

James says: “I’m really looking forward to being a part of Strictly this year. Having spent so many years mucking around in a rowing boat with big men in tight lycra, it’s time I learned a new skill. I need to apologise to my kids in advance for the embarrassment.”

A former rowing World Champion and double Olympic Gold Medallist, James won Olympic Gold in both the 2000 Sydney Games alongside Steve Redgrave & Matthew Pinsent and the 2004 Athens Games.

Since retiring James has carried out dangerous and gruelling challenges including The Race Across the Atlantic, where he and Ben Fogle finished first, and the Yukon Arctic Ultra, cycling over 430 miles in the race across the frozen Alaskan countryside becoming the highest placed Briton ever finishing 12th.

In 2010, James attempted to cross America by cycling, running, rowing and swimming in record time. It was during this trip that James suffered a near fatal accident after being struck from behind by a truck while cycling through Arizona. After a difficult six-month recovery period, James went to the Canadian Yukon, completing The Coldest Race on Earth.

James is the BBC’s commentator for Rowing, and was heavily involved in the coverage for the Rio Olympics in 2016. He has more recently become the oldest ever Boat Race champion at 46 as part of Cambridge University’s crew as they rowed to victory at the 165th Boat Race. He has also just finished studying for his Masters in Philosophy from Cambridge University.

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CATHY SHIPTON QUITS CASUALTY ROLE 0 16

Cathy Shipton, who plays Casualty’s Lisa ‘Duffy’ Duffin, has announced she will be leaving the BBC One continuing drama, 33 years after first appearing on screen in Casualty’s pilot episode in 1986.

Appearing in over 350 episodes, Cathy is one of show’s longest-serving cast members. Whilst audiences have seen Duffy come and go in the Emergency Department throughout the years, today it is announced that she will make her final departure on screen next year.

Throughout the show’s history, Duffy’s storylines have allowed the programme to explore important and significant topics such as sexual assault, HIV, suicide, grief, single parenthood, humanitarianism, mental health and most recently, dementia.

Cathy Shipton says: “Walking in Duffy’s shoes through the years has taught me so much for which I’ll be forever grateful. I’m honoured and humbled to have played this inspiring woman. With sadness, but a sense of completion, l say goodbye.”

Simon Harper, Executive Producer of Casualty and Holby City, says: “Cathy’s enormous contribution has not just been to Casualty but also to the national consciousness and the British television drama landscape. She has made Duffy into a comforting Saturday night icon, the caring, ideal NHS nurse millions grew up with – and whom you’d want to be looked after by in times of need.

“She’s given us some of our most unforgettable stories and moments, not least of late in her heart-rending dementia storyline, and I simply cannot thank her enough.”

Cathy will be appear on screen as Duffy until early 2020.

INSIDE SOAP AWARDS 2019: THE WINNERS REVEALED 0 18

You’ve been voting in your thousands all summer, and the moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here – it’s time to reveal the winners of the Inside Soap Awards 2019!

And the big news is that Hollyoaks has triumphed as Best Soap for the first time in the history of the awards. The cast will be presented with their trophy at a glitzy ceremony this evening at London venue Sway.

“It’s been an amazing soap year – in fact, the awards have never been more keenly fought,” says Inside Soap editor Steven Murphy. “We can’t wait to hand out the trophies to our winners tonight. Looking down the winners list, the UK should be extremely proud of our soaps and our soap stars, as the breadth of talent among the winners is astonishing. We’re proud to be celebrating all that is great about our wonderful soaps.”

Here’s the full list of your winners!

Best Actor: Adam Woodward (Brody Hudson, Hollyoaks)
Best Actress: Stephanie Davis (Sinead Shelby, Hollyoaks)
Best Young Actor: Kara-Leah Fernandes (Bailey Baker, EastEnders)
Best Newcomer: Maureen Lipman (Evelyn Plummer, Coronation Street)
Best Bad Girl: Louisa Clein (Maya Stepney, Emmerdale)
Best Bad Boy: Max Bowden (Ben Mitchell, EastEnders)
Best Partnership: Dominic Brunt & Lucy Pargeter (Paddy Kirk & Chas Dingle, Emmerdale)
Funniest Male: Danny Dyer (Mick Carter, EastEnders)
Funniest Female: Lorraine Stanley (Karen Taylor, EastEnders)
Best Shock Twist: Flashbacks to the big night out! (Emmerdale)
Best Exit: Jane Cox (Lisa Dingle, Emmerdale)
Best Show-stopper: Carla’s mental health episode (Coronation Street)
Soap Superstar: Sally Dynevor (Sally Metcalfe, Coronation Street)
Best Drama Star: Rosie Marcel (Jac Naylor, Holby City)
Best Drama Storyline: Iain’s Depression (Casualty)
Best Daytime Star: Ryan Moloney (Jarrod ‘Toadie’ Rebecchi, Neighbours)
Best Daytime Soap: Neighbours
Best Soap: Hollyoaks