2010 has been a great year for our Northern Ireland celebrities.

From romance and marriage to awards, contracts and dream roles being Northern Irish in the music, film, TV or musical theatre business has never been better.

Hush Hush has been there every step of the way bringing you the tears, tantrums, gossip and news.

COLERAINE actress Jayne Wisener had a busy 2010. Not only did she appear in five episodes

of Casualty as Simone Lewis but she also appeared in the series Vexed as Lucy B.

Jayne also starred as Orla in the Irish film A Kiss For Jedwood and finished shooting the character of Bessie for the 2011 release film Jane Eyre.

23-year-old Jayne is currently playing the part of Jay in the mini series Life Just Is.

Jay is one of the four main characters who are university graduates having trouble making the move into adult life.

According to producers the story sees the audience taken through the journey of each of the characters.

BELFAST born actress and singer Rachel Tucker used 2010 to cement her position on the Westend as she took on the famous role of Elphaba in the hit musical Wicked in March.

Speaking of the role Rachel said: The magic has not gone away; every night when I fly, it feels like the first time. I’d had a passion in me for this role from when I first saw it on

Broadway fairly early in the run.

Kristin Chenoweth was still in it [as Glinda] but we actually saw Idina Menzel’s understudy.

I was 20 or so, and I had bribed my sister and my mom to go on a girlie shopping bholiday to New York but it was actually to see Wicked, and our tickets were dearer than our flight.

Rachel, 29, shot to fame in the BBC programme I’d Do Anything when she became a semi-finalist.

She then went on to star in the Ben Elton production of We Will Rock You also on the Westend.

FORMER Blue Peter babe Zoe Salmon spent much of this year hitting the social scene
and partying in London, as well as some appearances on reality TV.

But as 2010 came to a close she bagged a presenting job with Channel 5.

A newly single Zoe took the helm at The Love Bus, a new dating show.

At the time Zoe, 30, said: We have a big pink Love Bus and we go round match-making lonesome couples.

“One singleton rides the bus around his or her town while potential mates wait at stops along the way.

It’s hilarious because we don’t have to stop if the person on board decides early on that they don’t like the one at the stop.

“We just drive on and leave the poor person stranded. I feel quite sorry for them. But that’s the nature of the dating game.

Earlier this year Zoe also completed an acting role in Face Value a quirky satirical film based on a young man’s obsession with his frown lines, the lengths at which he goes to smooth out his wrinkles and the money he spends.

AFTER 13 years together Belfast telly presenter Eamonn Holmes finally tied the knot
with long-term partner and fellow TV star Ruth Langsford.

In June the couple, both 50, married in romantic country wedding in Hampshire.

The newlyweds were joined by famous friends including Royle Family star Sue Johnston,

TV presenters Gloria Hunniford, Amanda Lamb and Jeremy Kyle, EastEnders actress Zoe Lucker and former champion boxer Barry McGuigan.

After the wedding Eamonn even boasted about how the couple were enjoying married life, he posted on his Twitter: Sorry if me and Ruth have been a bit quiet these past few days… but have been a bit preoccupied – we got married yesterday.

Although it was a truly stunningly beautiful day – even the sun was eclipsed by my beautiful bride, who I love even more than before.

Eamonn added in an interview with social magazine Hello: Ruth was the missing jigsaw piece in my life. I was meant to be married.

She’s a wonderful mummy to Jack, a fantastic partner both personally and professionally and now, I’m proud to say, she’s my beautiful wife.

IN March Bangor actress and singer Niamh Perry joined the cast of Phanton Of The Opera II: Love Never Dies.

Hand-picked by Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber Niamh, 20, was spotted by the theatre guru on BBC’s I’d Do Anything programme.

Niamh came straight off the cast of Mamma Mia to join LND and even put her pending
music career on hold for the new role.

In 2011 Niamh is hoping to reinvigorate her music career with some recording and writing and a possible single or album release.

CHRISTINE Bleakley found love and a new job in 2010 and she’s never been happier.

The 31-year-old hooked up with Chelsea football star Frank Lampard at the end of 2009 but it wasn’t until the first half of this year that she finally admitted they were in a serious relationship.

Then in a wages battle between ITV and the BBC Christine was finally offered a six-figure contract to move from The One Show at the beeb to ITV’s new Daybreak breakfast show in September.

COMEDIAN Patrick Kielty made a name for himself in radio this year as BBC Radio 2 gave him the slot filling in for Jonathan Ross after he was fired.

Patrick, 31, fronted a live Saturday show between 10am and 1pm between July and October.

And that wasn’t the end of Patrick’s radio career. This Wednesday at 4pm on Radio 2 The Dundrum funnyman will be “having a bit of a laugh and a bit of a sing-along to some great tunes.

Plus you can swap your unwanted Christmas presents for something that you’d actually like he said, adding:

Throughout the week I will be opening up my Swap Shop and inviting you to phone in and swap your presents and sales items for something
that you’d actually like.

APPRENTICE star Ben Clarke fell off the rails as he partied excessively all over the UK and hit the headlines after splitting from his long-term girlfriend.

During this time he launched his own production company making online commentary programmes about the BBC’s JuniorApprentice show.

However, after a trip to Barbados with family Ben’s life was back on track and on his return Ben decided to head back to education at Durham University to study an MBA.

He said at the time that it’s never too late to expand your knowledge and added that he’s always wanted to do the MBA and was glad to get the opportunity to early as most of the students were a lot older.

DERRY beauty Nadine Coyle took a break from Girls Aloud this year to work on her solo album and single Insatiable.

Nadine, 25, worked with industry giants such as Guy Chambers and the Backstreet Boys and went head to head with fellow bandmate Cheryl Cole.

Nadine lost as Chery had the might of the X-Factor behind her.

However, it was Nadine’s love life and eating habits that hit the headlines the most.

Nadine was reported to have weighed her food in June at a restaurant as critics accused her of being skeletal. Of course Nadine denied this.

Then as her relationship with American sport star Jason Bell grew she was under the spotlight again after it was alleged the couple had split up in August.

But by September the happy couple were engaged as Jason delivered a surprise proposal in Los Angeles and Nadine said: I had just got back from London, and he was in New York and then he surprised me with a ring and stuff, while I was in my pyjamas. If I’d have known I would have got a blow dry, or at least got a manicure or something – but no.

He was really nice about it. He got down on two knees, not one knee, because he played football for a while so he was all banged up, so he kinda got down and asked me all nice.It was different.

ARMAGH actor Colin Morgan’s life was once again consumed by the BBC hit show Merlin this year.

Colin, 24, spent a lot of the year shooting a new season as lead character Merlin and is insistent he still hasn’t tired of the role.

On top of Merlin Colin also starred alongside Colm Meaney in Parked the Irish film about a proud man living in his car. Fred (played by Colm) is inspired by young drug addict Cathal (Colin) to become a better person.

He also played the role of Calum in the independent production of Island.

According to Colin it’s the story of The character Nikki Black who was abandoned at birth has spent most of her life in care sustained only by fairy-stories.

Production notes added: Incapable of love, fearful and desperate for revenge, she decides to find her birth mother, confront her, and bitter enough to consider murder.

She travels incognito to a remote Hebridean island where Phyllis now lives as a recluse with Calum, her son.

IN May this year musical theatre star Conleth Kane came home from London to pursue his dream as he battled it out on RTE’s new reality show FAME.

Belfast born Conleth was among a group of actors who were hoping to take on the role of Nick in the biggest musical theatre production ever to be produced in Ireland.

However, Conleth’s dreams were smashed as he didn’t make it to the final.

Now Conleth, 26, is starring alongside Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson in Genie In The Lamp at The Liverpool Empire as Major Pong.

ROCK N Roll artist Terry Bradley cemented himself as one of Northern Ireland’s most prolific artists this year as he confirmed a sale of one of his dockers to rock legend Slash of Guns N Roses fame.

As well as launching a new line of artwork Terry also launched a skateboard and shopping bag in September.

At the time Terry said he was excited about the merchandising side of his business which his wife Ashley was running.

In the meantime Terry has also been travelling to America to show his work at tattoo conventions and other galleries.

ENNISKILLEN actor Ciaran McMenamin took a break from films for most of this year as he made Dublin his home while shooting the new series of Primeval.

Ciaran, 35, is new lead character Matt Anderson in the series starting this week on ITV.

On top of that the actor also starred in Outcast, an independent horror movie made in Ireland alongside James Nesbitt.

LOVE was on the cards for golfing ace Darren Clarke as he got together with model boss Alison Campbell.

The new found love meant Darren was spotted partying all over Belfast and attending glitzy bashes such as the Miss Northern Ireland final.

COUNTRY star Dominic Kirwan turned 50 this year and celebrated in style with a massive concert at the Waterfront Hall for his fans in aid of charity.

And as the star turned the big 5-0 he revealed he’s still got a burning ambition to take to the stage in a very different role than he’s used to.

Dominic wants to star in a musical theatre production.

He said: I’ve always wanted to be a part of a musical. Prior to the movie I went to see Mamma Mia and I remember watching it thinking to myself I could be one of those guys. I remember going to see Les Miserable and thinking waoh, I’d love to do that.

IN June Belfast actress Karen Hassan joined the cast of hit Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks as fellow Northern Ireland actor

Gerard McCarthy left the TV show.

Karen, 21, won the role of Lynsey Nolan and will remain in the show throughout 2011 according to producers.

Speaking of the role Karen said: It just doesn’t seem real. When the audition was put round I think every actress from Belfast jumped on the same flight to go over.

I had already played the character in the Hollyoaks Late Night series but I wasn’t any less nervous or more confident than anyone else as the part was up for anyone.

It’s been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I’m enjoying every single minute.

IT was a big year for Snow Patrol as the band took a small break from touring and recording to allow Gary Lightbody to work on solo projects with Steve Buck from REM (Tired Pony) and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger.

However, they did come together in June for their massive outdoor gig in Bangor’s Ward Park where they played to 40,000 fans.

During their visit home the band were awarded a special PRS music industry plaque marking their first ever gig in Belfast at the Duke Of York in Commercial Court.

The band then followed that up with a performance at Arthur’s Day in September in Dublin.

IN July this year rock band The Answer took to the studio after a gruelling touring schedule with music giants AC/DC.

I joined the band at a Killyleagh mansion where they have spent the year putting together a new album due out in 2011.

Lead singer Cormac Neeson said: It’s nice for a while but travelling for two years straight does start to take its toll in that you kind of miss having a normal day to day life.

I tell everybody that asks this question that there are two sides of being in a band – the touring life and the recording side ofthings and they compliment each other.

Being on the road is exciting but when you get off the road you’re glad to get into the studio and your doing the same thing every day and waking up in the same bed for a fewmonths.

Of course after a few months you do get itchy feet again and that is whenever you know it’s time to get back on the road again.

PUNK rock band The Defects reformed in August this year as they took to the stage at the massive Rebellion Festival in Blackpool alongside the UK’s biggest punk bands.

The band, who were massive in the 80s supporting bands such as The Clash and the Anti Nowhere League will be embarking on a UK and Irish tour this February coming.

Lead singer Buck Murdock said: It’s great to see the Fex back tearing it up with our new lineup. We’re looking forward to our new tour and getting back in the studio to record some more music.
By Tina Calder

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