It's the summer of 1990, and Jason Donovan, at the height of his fame, is onstage at the Point in Dublin. The air is thick with dry ice and hormones. Crucifixes dangle from his shoulder pads and his blonde curtains of hair are plastered to his forehead with sweat. Occasional knickers are fired from the crowd toward the stage. As he removes his shirt to reveal a glistening torso, ten thousand teenage girls scream as though they personally have just been asked to join the cast of Neighbours.
It's October 2003. Saddam Hussein's regime has fallen. For six months, Baghdad has been occupied by American forces. Muhsin al-Khafaji, an Iraqi ex-policeman who has lost his job, his house and his wife, is living amidst the chaos, desperately trying to keep his sick daughter Mrouj safe.
Moya Doherty's words are as graceful as her style. Draped in a navy Jil Sanders dress illuminated by the sunlight streaming in through the Georgian windows of the Merrion Square offices in Dublin of Riverdance - the show she co-founded with her husband John McColgan - Moya talks about her recent health concerns with power and dignity.
Known as Clo to most of my friends, I've just turned 43 and am a kind, caring, social creature who believes that smiling, a positive attitude and a little bit of charm will get you through most things in life. When it came to having babies, I was never somebody who dreamt of having kids, and counted down the days until it happened. Rather, I always knew I didn't not want to have kids.
Silence falls as the credits to The Windermere Children roll - actors and audience moved in equal measure. From screenwriter Simon Block and director Michael Samuels, the BBC Two drama tells the remarkable - and often unknown - true story of a group of young Holocaust survivors who were brought to the Calgarth Estate by Lake Windermere for a new life in the UK.
Seriously scary and famous for that killer stare when a prospective investment doesn't appeal to her, BBC's Dragons' Den star Deborah Meaden turns out to be completely different off screen. Chatting at her country home, a 10-bedroom farm in Somerset that she shares with her husband Paul, she's warm, friendly and funny as she describes their menagerie of animals.
There are few things in life that really scare me. Of course, being a mother, the thought of anything hurting or harming my children is top of the list but in terms of things that might happen to me, I can't think of many.
She's just a year into motherhood and already actress Jayne Wisener has been hit by 'mummy guilt'. The Northern Irish star, who shot to fame with her role alongside Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd, became mum to son Michael in January last year.
Irish presenter Laura Whitmore is having a big year. She was named the new presenter of the winter series of ITV2's Love Island when Caroline Flack stepped down following an assault charge, and she's received wide praise online so far since the Cape Town show started.
I am occasionally invited by hospitality bodies to share deep and penetrating insights into the mind of a food writer and restaurant critic. At such events I normally share the four commandments to be deployed during the first few seconds of a restaurant guest's arrival.
It's nearly impossible at the moment to pick up a paper or turn on the TV without being confronted with a picture of Harry, Meghan and various other members of 'The Firm', as Prince Philip allegedly calls the Royal family. There have been 101 experts interviewed about what they think is going to happen next to the Duke and Duchess, who is still speaking to whom and just how bitter, or otherwise, the fallout might be.
They've both been sports mad since they were girls on the hockey pitches - and have harnessed that passion and honed their talents over the years to ensure they have both reached the top of their game in the world of sports presenting.
Cold Feet's Fay Ripley has been stopped in the street more than ever of late - and with good reason. The actress, known for her role as hapless housewife Jenny Gifford on the hit ITV comedy-drama, moved viewers to tears last series when her character was given the devastating news that she had breast cancer.
Debbie McGee was one half of one of the most famous magical duos the world ever produced. Indeed the 'lovely Debbie McGee' as she was known was magically 'sawn' in half by her husband Paul Daniels on stage many times.
January usually happens like clockwork: a slew of new self-help books, articles and slimming blogs encourage you to 'be your best self', often by adopting a radical new diet that promises to blitz those spare inches around your waist for good.
I always find these first few weeks of January hard to get through. The days are very short and the nights far too long. There are days when it never really seems to brighten at all and you end up leaving the lights on in the house all day. Of course, it's no gloomier than it was just a fortnight or so ago but while the tree and all the Christmas lights and decorations make the last few wintry months of the year into a beautiful, magical time, their absence makes the first few weeks of a new year appear even bleaker than they might otherwise.
Broadchurch star David Tennant has been crowned the UK's hardest working actor; a title he accrued in a study of 100 prolific television and film stars, including the likes of Martin Clunes, Dame Judi Dench and his former co-star Olivia Colman. Not that he's entirely convinced of his victory.
Is pizza the north's favourite food? Judging by the number of mobile, takeaway, sit-down, posh and punky pizzerias around our towns and cities, probably. Yet of the 50 (and counting) pizza places in Belfast alone, very few are any good.
Spinning red chairs? Tick. Coaches? Tick. Brand new singers? Tick. Yes, The Voice UK is back for yet another series - its ninth to date - and if rumours are to be believed, 2020 could well be the best year yet for the blind singing competition.
Florence Pugh is shouting as the other guests at the plush Hotel Cafe Royal quietly polish off their plates of eggs Benedict to the sound of tinkling piano: "MERYL!" The 23-year-old is describing the first time she met Meryl Streep on the pair's new film, Little Women.
Documentary filmmaker Reggie Yates has never been afraid to confront difficult situations - from encounters with members of the Ku Klux Klan in America, being incarcerated in a jail in Texas, through to meeting Mexican drug cartels and exploring homophobia in Russia.
She was feted at film premieres, mixed with Hollywood's leading men, was the subject of a celebrated Louis le Brocquy portrait and appeared set for the gilded life of a film superstar. But when Kathleen Ryan died in December 1985 at the age of 63 she was a forgotten woman.
Preparing to slip out of her dancing shoes and into the role of host for the next Strictly Come Dancing Live UK Arena Tour, Stacey Dooley couldn't be more excited. "I can't quite believe I'm going to be hosting the 2020 tour," beams the former champion as she gets ready to follow in the footsteps of 2019 tour presenter Ore Oduba.
I can't be bothered with New Year's Eve celebrations. I know lots of people who are already really excited and looking forward to getting up and off the sofa after indulging over Christmas, but not me.
On Christmas Day when Her Majesty the Queen sat down with her extended family for dinner at Sandringham (on the menu, lobster salad followed by turkey, apparently) the atmosphere around the table may not have been quite so jolly as the season normally dictates.
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