Isn’t it exciting when somebody unexpected turns up on your favourite show? We think so, and, to celebrate such inspired (or simply crazy) casting, we bring you (in our opinion) the 17 best guests!
1. Prince Charles (his royal himself) – Coronation Street
We had to go with royalty as number 1! The Prince of Wales appeared as his prince-ness on the cobbles back in 2000, as part or the show’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
2. Stephen Hawking (his proffy himself) – The Big Bang Theory
The prof is really, really, really clever, but it’s not all quantum physics. Apart from answering questions about Zayn leaving One Direction, Stephen also thrilled fans of The Big Bang Theory, by playing his clever self on the show – much to the delight of all the geeky guys, especially Sheldon!
3. Tom Selleck (Dr Richard Burke) – Friends
Tom – him of the famous moustache – lasted for four years in Friends. He played Monica’s dad’s mate, ophthalmologist Dr Richard Burke. Richard became romantically involved with Monica and, despite the age gap, also formed good friendships with the boys, who looked up to him.
4. Ian McKellen (Mel Hutchwright) – Coronation Street
The Lord of the Rings star joined the street for 10 episodes as Mel Hutchwright. Mel convinces most Weatherfield residents that he’s a respected novelist, but he’s actually trying to scam them. Norris eventually uncovers Mel’s dodgy ways and the ‘writer’ goes on his way…
5. Debbie Reynolds (Bobbi Adler) – Will and Grace
Hollywood star Debbie plays Grace’s flamboyant and glamorous mother, Bobbi, who is often critical of Grace. However, Bobbi does get on well with Grace’s pal, Jack. Jack says it’s because nobody knows how to be a daughter better than a gay son!
6. Patrick Stewart (Alistair Burke) – Frasier
Suspecting that his producer Roz’s new boyfriend is gay, Frasier follows him and inadvertently ends up in a gay bar. The rest of Seattle considers Frasier ‘outed’ and the news improves his friendship with Alistair, director of the Seattle Opera. Frasier is thrilled with the high-brow connection – but there may be a reason for Alistair’s sudden interest in the psychiatrist…
7. Bruce Willis (Paul Stevens) – Friends
Bruce plays the disapproving father of Ross’ younger girlfriend, Elizabeth. However, he’ll be most remembered when he starts a relationship with Rachel, who tries to get him to open up. This results in Mr Stevens sobbing for hours and hours on end, as he gets in touch with his feelings. Cry hard, basically!
8. Victoria Beckham (herself) – Ugly Betty
Known for stealing the limelight wherever she goes, Posh did exactly that in her cameo on Ugly Betty. She was Wilhelmina’s maid of honour, and got far more TV coverage than the bride herself, which infuriates her! Victoria said afterwards that although it was a lot of fun, she wasn’t interested in being an actress. We can rest easy, then…
9. Kathleen Turner (Charles Bing/Helena Handbasket) – Friends
Husky-voiced Kathleen was an inspired choice to play Chandler’s drag-queen father, Charles Bing. In the show, Chandler says that his father’s career choice made his entire youth hell and won’t send his dad a wedding invite. Monica, however, is determined family comes first and ‘drags’ Chandler to Las Vegas where Helena Handbasket has a drag show. When they’re finally face to face, Chandler decides to invite Helena. Who looks incredible on her son’s big day!
10. Stephanie Cole (Sylvia Goodwin) – Coronation Street)
Stephanie played Roy Cropper’s mother, Sylvia, a formidable woman, who has difficulty showing her feelings. She sometimes helped Anna out at the cafe, but usually upset the customers! She melted a little when she met Robert Vaughn’s character Milton on a cruise, but departed Weatherfield after Roy’s wife Hayley was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, as she was seemingly unable to cope with the emotional situation.
11. Dame Edna Everage (Claire Otoms) – Ally McBeal
Barry Humphries was brought on board to try and rescue the ailing show after audiences dropped off by 23 per cent in 2001. Although not playing the Dame herself, the similarities are undeniable. Edna really got her false teeth into the role as Claire, an eccentric lawyer. Not surprisingly, Claire, had an over-the-top dress sense and some acidic one-liners. Told you she sounded familiar!
12. Reese Witherspoon (Jill Green) – Friends
Reese played Rachel’s spoilt-brat sister Jill, who’d been cut off by her father and sent to stay with Rachel, to learn the value of money after she bought a pal a boat! She starts off by shopping on her dad’s credit cards as she’s memorised the numbers, but Rachel, who’s now learnt the error of her frivolous ways with cash, nips that in the bud.
13 and 14. (They came as a couple) Jennifer Saunders and Tom Conti (Andrea and Stephen Waltham) – Friends
The best thing about Emily (played by Helen Baxendale) and Ross’ fated marriage, was that we got to the see ‘absolutely fabulous’ performances from Jennifer Saunders and Tom Conti as her snooty British parents who were in the Big Apple for their daughter’s nuptials!
15. Status Quo (as themselves) – Coronation Street
Les Battersby had been a life-long fan of rockers Status Quo, as had Bruce Jones, who played him. Bruce had been to quite a few of their gigs and band members Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi asked if they could be on the show. The Quo did three episodes, which culminated in them playing at Les and Cilla’s wedding. However, beforehand, Les has smashed into the back of the band’s van – hence the bizarre neckwear!
16. Stephanie Beacham – Martha (Coronation Street)
Living on a barge may not be as glamorous as playing Sable Colby in Dynasty – although Stephanie Beacham did her best to make it look that way! Ken Barlow encounters Martha on her boat while walking his dog near the canal. Ken falls for the eccentric theatre actress and is grateful for the retreat she and her barge offer him from his troubled domestic life. The relationship rocks (but doesn’t break) Ken’s marriage to Deirdre…
17. James Earl Jones (himself) – The Big Bang Theory
Star Wars star, James, is having dinner at his favourite sushi restaurant where he sees Sheldon and guesses that he’s a Star Wars fan. The couple bond and have a crazy day together: eating ice cream, riding a Ferris wheel, singing karaoke in a strip club and having a sauna! While in the sauna, James tells Sheldon that he and his friends can be his guests at Comic Con. Inexplicably, though, Sheldon becomes bored with James’ relentless stories.