Jane McDonald says there’s no place like home in her new series ‘My Love Letter to Yorkshire’

Jane McDonald traveled the world to film seven series of her BAFTA-winning TV show Cruising With Jane McDonald, passing through Alaska, Australia, South America and the Caribbean, among other faraway destinations.

But there was one arguably less exotic place that was often mentioned as she sailed the seven seas – Wakefield in West Yorkshire.

“That’s where I come from,” says Jane. “I love it, I miss it when I’m not around and I’m extremely proud of it.

“No matter where I was, I always tried to mention Wakefield – or Wakey as I call it – somewhere because I wanted everyone to know about my beautiful home town and the county of Yorkshire beyond.”

Now Jane finally has the chance to not only talk about Wakey, but introduce him to us in a new series.

Jane McDonald mentioned her beloved Wakefield on her BAFTA-winning TV show, and in her latest six-part autobiographical series she takes us to her home county

Jane McDonald: My Yorkshire is a six-part autobiographical journey around the singer and presenter’s home county, passing through the coastal towns of Bridlington, Scarborough and Whitby, as well as Wakefield, Holmfirth and Knaresborough.

The Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors National Park are also on the itinerary, with celebrity guests appearing during the trip.

Frazer Hines, who played Joe Sugden on Emmerdale, makes an appearance in one episode, while in this week’s opener Jane travels back the years to hang out with an actor from her favorite childhood sitcom Last Of The Summer Wine when she visits the show. hometown, Holmfirth.

“When I was growing up, the whole family would huddle on the couch at 7:30 p.m. on a Sunday night and giggle about it,” Jane says.

“It ran for 37 years and is still known and celebrated for its wonderful combination of warmth, beauty and sheer silliness.”

Sadly, her stars Bill Owen, Brian Wilde and Peter Sallis – who played Compo, Foggy and Clegg respectively – are no longer with us, but Jane is tracking down another Summer Wine stalwart, Jonathan Linsley, who played “Crusher” Milburn, the dogbody stocky. at Sid’s Cafe.

Jane McDonald: My Yorkshire is a six-part autobiographical journey around the singer and presenter's home county, passing through the coastal towns of Bridlington, Scarborough and Whitby, as well as Wakefield, Holmfirth and Knaresborough.  Pictured, Bridlington

Jane McDonald: My Yorkshire is a six-part autobiographical journey around the singer and presenter’s home county, passing through the coastal towns of Bridlington, Scarborough and Whitby, as well as Wakefield, Holmfirth and Knaresborough. Pictured, Bridlington

The couple have a drink and share memories outside the real cafe that was used on the show.

Across town, Jane peeks around the terraced house that housed Nora Batty (the late Kathy Staff), who was famous for her curlers and wrinkled stockings and was the object of desire. unshared from Compo.

It is from the steps in front of his famous front door that he would declare his eternal love to her.

Now a vacation rental in a town that remains a mecca for fans of the show, owner Loretta Skelton jokes: “If I had a pound for every time someone had their picture taken on those steps, I’d be a millionaire. !”

Back in her hometown, Jane is disappointed to find that her sidewalk plaque on the Wakefield Walk Of Fame needs some TLC. So she pulls out the Brasso to polish it.

Jane's plaque on the

Jane’s plaque on the “Wakey” Walk of Fame

In Wakefield Cathedral, she tries her hand at ringing the bells and hears the hymn For All The Saints, composed by the former Bishop of Wakefield William Walsham, sung by the cathedral choir.

“I’m also blessed to reunite with Vicky, the woman who first saw me sing in a nightclub and put me on cruise ships all those years ago, changing my life,” says Jane, who has become famous. in the BBC1 documentary series The Cruise in 1998 before dominating the charts for three weeks with his debut album.

“The whole series is both a love letter to Yorkshire and a very personal journey for me, a chance to rediscover the places and people I loved when I was little.

“The producers even gave me a 1970s Vauxhall Viva, the same model as my very first car!”

The vehicle is a charming nod to nostalgia but not necessarily easy to drive. “I know we’re blessed when it comes to driving modern cars, but I really missed power steering when I was in the Viva.” However, it was a great experience to be behind the wheel. Like your first love, you never forget your first car.

“This show is the best thing I’ve ever done, I hope we get another show,” Jane says. “And hopefully that will inspire people to visit Yorkshire. It’s a beautiful place – nowhere holds a candle.

Jane McDonald: My Yorkshire, tomorrow, 9 p.m., Channel 5.

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