X Factor 'ban' for reporter Andrea

ITV news bosses are reported to have banned Northern Ireland-born reporter and presenter Andrea Catherwood from taking part in the X Factor.

She was to have formed an Ulster duo with Royal love rat James Hewitt, who was born in Londonderry at the former City and County Hospital, off the Northland Road.

Ms Catherwood, 38, and Hewitt would have been singing a live duet in front of the merciless judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osborne – in a celebrity version of the TV talent show which aims to discover new pop idols.

Ms Catherwood was approached about appearing on the show three weeks ago, but now her ITV news bosses have told her that they will not give her permission to take part.

A friend of the mother-of-three said: "She would have been great.

"Andrea's always been a good singer and she was starting to think about what sort of songs she might perform.

"She's very disappointed not to be able to do it.''

Ms Catherwood has not publicly spoken about the matter and an ITV spokeswoman declined to comment.

Hewitt, who had a much-publicised affair with Princess Diana, will now duet on the show with Rebecca Loos, former PA to England World Cup skipper David Beckham.

Also appearing in the star-studded X Factor talent series will be Ulster celebrity chef Paul Rankin and magician Paul Daniels' wife Debbie McGee, whose father comes from the Waterside area of Londonderry.

l The X Factor Battle of the Stars starts tonight on ITV 1 at 9pm.