Jane McDonald To Headline Queen's Jubilee Concert

Jane McDonald Headlining Yorkshire’s Platinum Jubilee Concert

by geoffford

Excitement is growing ahead of the events to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at the beginning of June, none-more-so than Yorkshire’s Platinum Jubilee Concert at Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre on Saturday 4 June. The SOAT concert will be at the forefront of celebrations in the North and Yorkshire’s very own Jane McDonald was keen to tell Northern Life just what a thrill it will be to headline this most prestigious event.

“Oh, my gosh! I can’t even think about it, it’s so exciting to be doing this!” she exclaimed, “It’s such an honour to be doing this in Yorkshire. And don’t forget, it’s just once in a lifetime that this will happen.”

Jane will be joined by a host of special guests for the show taking place at Britain’s biggest outdoor concert arena. “I just want people to have an amazing time, and that’s my job, to let everyone have a really good sing-song, a good dance, there’s going to be all sorts of things happening that night which is just going to be so special. And that’s just for me!”

With her powerful voice and strong personality full of warmth and good humour, Jane McDonald has become one of the nation’s favourites through her television appearances and concert tours over the past twenty years. The Platinum Jubilee Concert will also mark Jane’s debut at the Yorkshire coast arena.

“I’ve not been to the Open Air Theatre before, so this is a double whammy for me! It’s just going to be a night to remember. I feel it’s going to be that because I’ve looked at what we’re doing. It’s going to be spectacular, in fact, I wish I was sat watching it! I’ve got an amazing band and singers and, even without me in it, it’s going to be great! It’s going to be emotional, it’s going to be rousing and it’s going to be history making, I think, because it’s never going to happen again. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event that we should all celebrate.”

Surprisingly, despite Jane’s high profile, The Queen is one member of The Royal Family she has not met. “I’ve met Prince Charles a couple of times and I’ve met Wills – ‘ark at me!” she laughs, “and Kate, I’ve met quite a few of the royals but not actually The Queen.”

Back in 1998 Jane won a place in the nation’s hearts in the BBC docusoap The Cruise and became a household name overnight. Since then, she has toured extensively selling out live concerts including shows at the Royal Albert Hall, the London Palladium twice and The MGM in Las Vegas.

Jane has also appeared on numerous high-profile television shows including Star For A Night and Loose Women together with three Royal Variety Show appearancesShe returned to our TV screens fronting Channel 5’s BAFTA award winning Cruising with Jane McDonald, along with Jane & Friends and Holidaying With Jane McDonald. Most recently Jane, who lives in Wakefield, took viewers around her beloved home county with the series Jane McDonald: My Yorkshire, revealing which of the county’s places are special to her and why.

Jane McDonald at Scarborough Fair Museum.

Since that first series of The Cruise, it would seem that Jane has always been busy with one project or another.

“Oh, yes, I thought I’d be slowing down, by now, Geoff. In fact, ever since it started, I’ve been thinking ‘This has got to stop, soon.’ I kept thinking it’ll finish but it hasn’t,” she laughs. “It keeps on and I’m busier than I’ve ever been, it keeps me out of trouble!”

I always wonder, when people are catapulted to stardom, what they envisage the future holding. Could Jane ever have seen this, twenty years ago?

“Never in a million years, Geoff, no. I think it’s because I never took it too seriously and I was a bit older when it happened to me. I wasn’t like a youngster thinking ‘This is stardom, this is great.’ I just thought it could all end tomorrow, so mek best of it!” she laughs again, offering a touch of the Northern realism that keeps her grounded.

“Oh yeah! I think you have to be realistic, it’s something I am and I’m a grafter, as well. I’ve done the clubs and I’ve done the ships, for years, so I tend to know what I’m doing, a little bit in entertainment. I love every minute of it and it just seems to keep going on.”

When Jane first arrived on our screens, with a bang, she already had a huge wealth of experience behind her having come through the traditional Northern clubs’ route. When did she first know that she would make a career in entertainment?

“Oh, my goodness. I always knew I would go into show business but I thought I would be behind the scenes in some shape or form. I never thought I would be out-front. I was a singer and I played piano, mainly, a piano player, and I was so pathetically nervous, I couldn’t get on the stage. So, I had stage-fright to get over and I still have a little bit of nerves, even now, but I’ve turned that into excitement. I never once thought it would still be like this, so I’ve been very lucky and very blessed. I know that and I’ve got great fans who I absolutely love and adore.

Even so, wasn’t it a long way from the Northern club scene to working cruise ships around the world?

“I were bored!” she laughs! As you may have gathered, Jane is great fun to chat to and we did laugh a lot!

“I’d been doing the clubs for a long time and it was always, like, going back to the same old clubs. I said to a friend of mine that I’d love to do something else and Vicky was already working on the ships.

“She says ‘Why don’t you do what I’m doing?’

“I did, I went, and I did eight years on the ships. I loved it! I saw the world, I was singing and getting paid for it. It was the best job ever! I’d recommend it, highly, to go and work on a cruise ship.”

And then came the biggest step of all, her first television series for the BBC.

Jane McDonald, photo Geoff Ford

“It was a sheer fluke,” she says, “an absolute fluke. The BBC were on the ship that I was performing on and it was all fate. It could have been anybody but, thankfully, it were me!” More laughter.

So, what does the rest of the year hold for Jane McDonald?

“I have a full-packed year. I’m going to Rhodes in two weeks to do four concerts in Greece. I come back and do the amazing Jubilee Concert and then I’m on a national tour as soon as we finish that, that all starts in June. I’m all over the UK, lots in Yorkshire and the surrounding area, and I start filming again when the tour’s over. Then I’ll probably be doing the (Leeds) Arena, again, for the Christmas show, it’s a packed year.”

That’s a big change from the restrictions of the last couple of years, how did Jane get through that?

“I just did, like everybody else. I cleaned the cupboards out, shook out the chintz. I think every charity shop, now, is packed with people just throwing things out. So, I had a rest, which was unusual for me, but I’m glad to be back, glad that everything’s going back to normal.”

Yorkshire’s Platinum Jubilee Concert is the jewel in the crown for Scarborough Open Air Theatre’s 2022 season. Other headliners include a-ha, Lewis Capaldi, Bryan Adams, Elbow, Tom Jones, The Script, Simply Red, Crowded House and Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, plus many more.