Secrets & Lights! It's rising star Richard

Secrets & Lights! It's rising star Richard

Well my young friend Richard Fleeshman, the Coronation Street star, takes a giant leap in his quest to be a top pop star with his first single released today.

I have to say I like it - very catchy, and he wrote it himself. It's called Coming Down but it should really be called Going Up because that's where this talented 18-year-old is headed.

I caught up with him last week when he sang it at the switch-on of Bradford's festive lights in Centenary Square.

Richard did his best to give the event a glitzy edge but it all seemed a bit low key and they had trouble with their big prop during the countdown, a huge champagne bottle that was supposed to fizz into life.

The top kept falling off and Richard did his best to mend it. When it finally did go off like it was supposed to, it was little more than a big party popper. It didn't help proceedings that his Corrie co-actor Antony Cotton, who was billed to appear, didn't turn up.

He'd cited a "last minute commitment" that he had to attend to but no matter because Andy Whyment - that's Kirk in Corrie to you - came along instead and he was lots of fun, a lovely guy. He's just recently married his girlfriend and everything's going well for him.

"Is this the best Christmas light switch-on you've ever done?" I asked him. "Yes, definitely," he said. "Which others have you appeared at?" I asked. "Oh, just the ones in our house," he said. Very amusing!

You might remember that Richard, whose mum is ex Brookside actress Sue Jenkins, wowed millions of viewers on Soapstar Superstar. He was bombarded with contract offers in the aftermath but he was determined to bide his time and be a pop star in his own right.

He didn't want to be sucked in to a treadmill of performing cover versions and good on him for standing his ground and staying true to his ambitions. I didn't ask him if he was still with Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett - I haven't seen them together in the press for a while.

Richard really astonished all his girl fans, suddenly transforming into this handsome young man after playing moody eyeliner-wearing goth, Craig Harris, for so long, and even won a sexiest soap star award.

Part of that charm was his carefully styled and straightened chestnut-brown hair ... which he's now got in a strange curly style. I was dying to offer him a bit of fashion advice but I bottled it!

Richard, if you read this, get your straighteners back out. Your pop superstardom may depend on them!

We're not so Secret Millionnaires any more

I went to a party in Nottingham, hosted by my Secret Millionnaire co-star Chek White. We both feature in separate episodes in the Channel 4 series - watch out for me on TV on November 28. I'll tell you the full tale next week.

Anyway, Chek, who's made it big buying and selling property, held a huge bash with a screening to celebrate his involvement. He's great, very jolly and friendly, I really like him.

The party was in a big hall, like a Victorian theatre. I took my personal trainer, Gary, along and we both had a great time. There was a hog roast but sadly no free bar! There were some very, very expensive cars in the car park and we met lots of well-connected people but no celebrities to tell you about!

Peter's expensive lifestyle

I took Peter Grant, the super-smooth crooner, down to my bar, Fibre, for a drink after his sell-out show at Leeds City Varieties.

He's a true professional, the day before he was so ill with flu, he was on the brink of cancelling the gig but he soldiered on anyway - and you'd never have known it. What a performer!

Peter is from Leeds but has now moved to London, where he's busy meeting and greeting, wining and dining, every night. He confided that socialising down there is costing him a fortune - and he's a clean-living lad so it's not as if he's quaffing lakes of booze.

At least he knows he'll always get a drink on me when he's in Yorkshire. If you don't already own his album, Traditional, you should check it out - it's quietly becoming a classic!