Jane has never forgotten her Wakefield roots

Sunday:Jane McDonald: My Yorkshire; (Channel 5, 9pm)

Jane McDonald first found fame in 1998 when she appeared on the BBC fly-on-the-wall series The Cruise – she was the resident singer on the ship The Galaxy.

She became a celebrity virtually overnight, but unlike many other stars of the ‘docusoaps’ (as we used to call them), she has gone on to have a long-lasting and hugely successful career. She enjoyed stints as a regular on Loose Women, but arguably her biggest success has come as a travel presenter.

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Her show Cruising with Jane McDonald even picked up a Bafta, which seemingly surprised the presenter. She told the BBC: “It’s just me going on my holidays really, who would’ve thought I’d get a Bafta from doing that, I would’ve done it ages ago if I would’ve known.

“It’s just fun, and I wanted to put fun into television. I think cruising’s had such a bad rap for such a long time, and I thought no, I’m going to show it as it really is. And I love it, I do love a cruise.”

She also hosted Holidaying with Jane McDonald and has a Caribbean-based series in the works.

However, no matter where she goes, Jane has never forgotten her Wakefield roots, which makes her new series, My Yorkshire, a must for her fans.

She told The Yorkshire Post that she’s hoping it will help viewers to understand why her hometown is so important to her, saying: “It’s a love letter to the viewers as to why I keep mentioning Yorkshire and Wakefield all the time! No matter what show I’m on, I always get a mention of Wakefield in somewhere. I just want to show everyone my beautiful city and my beautiful county.”

And while there is no shortage of Yorkshire-based series on Channel 5, viewing the county through Jane’s eyes is going to be a whole new experience.

It’s a very personal journey, as she explores the county’s rolling hills and quaint villages, as well as its bustling towns and cities, and also shares some of her own happy memories.

There’s definitely an autobiographical feel to this first episode, which finds her exploring – where else? – Wakefield. She calls in at the cathedral, where she spent many of her lunch hours as a young girl, and listens to a stunning performance by the cathedral choir at Chantry Chapel.

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She takes in some of the surrounding towns as well, including the village of Holmfirth.

If the place looks familiar, it’s probably because it was the setting for the BBC series Last of the Summer Wine, which ran for a staggering 37 years to become the longest-running sitcom in the world.

It was apparently a firm TV favourite in the McDonald household, so Jane can be forgiven for feeling nostalgic as she takes a look around, and meets up with actor Jonathan Linsley, who had a recurring role as Crusher. He was also still in his twenties when he first joined the cast, making him very much one of the babies of the show.

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