Jane McDonald on singing for the Queen and her love of Scarborough
The Wakefield-born singer said she cannot deny her excitement at performing at the event at Scarborough Open Air Theatre on June 4.
She will perform alongside a host of other stars, but she is proud to be flying the flag for her home county while celebrating the monarch who she says has been an 'ever present' in her life.
“If there is one thing, one presence, one person who has been consistent, throughout my life – all of our lives really – it’s Queen Elizabeth… and I am so honoured to be celebrating her,” said Jane.
“What an occasion to be celebrating just how much work she has done over so many years. We have all grown up with her, as individuals, and as a nation, and she is still there, at 96-years-old everything she possibly can in her role, her duty, and that really should be celebrated.
“And I’m very much a Yorkshire girl – you know I’m always banging on about it – so to be doing this concert in Scarborough, in Yorkshire, where I have such a wonderful, loyal fan base is so lovely.
“The warmth of a home audience, as well as everyone being there to celebrate, well – you can’t fail with that.”
While Jane’s heart has always been firmly in her home county, it was travelling the world as a cruise ship singer, featured on BBC docusoap The Cruise back in 1998 which made her a household name.
Since winning the nation’s hearts, Jane became a regular face on TV, on the Loose Women panel and performing at no fewer than three Royal Variety Shows. She’s released 10 studio albums and has toured extensively including sell-out shows at the Royal Albert Hall and the London Palladium, as well as The MGM in Las Vegas.
Now with nostalgia in the air, as she celebrates the Queen's 70-year reign, Jane will be taking a trip down memory lane when she heads to the coastal resort too – revisiting childhood holidays with her family.
“Scarborough has a special place in my heart, it holds such treasured memories for me,” Jane said. “We loved it as a family. Looking back, I sometimes think we went there because it was the only place my dad’s van would get to! But that didn’t matter, it was magical.
“It used to take forever to get there, so long, but that was part of the fun too. And it’s a wonder I’ve got a voice when I think about it… The windows of the van were always shut and my mum and dad would be smoking the whole way there, the van was full of cigarette smoke!
"But once we arrived, it was such freedom.
“I loved the fair, although I was sick after the rides – I was pathetic. I wanted to go on the rides, then was sick when I got off.
“And the beaches, they’re stunning – it’s ‘Scarbados’ isn’t it. That whole coast is beautiful, and has these great coastal towns, Bridlington, Filey, Flamborough. They’re all great.
“The other things I remember, the café that sold milky coffee – so milky they’d be cold, before the days of cappuccinos…
“And you know what it was really all about? Spending time with your family.
“We didn’t have phones and tablets, we’d just run and run on the beach. I feel sorry for children of today actually. They haven’t got that same ‘space’ we had, that head space to just be free, to run, to laugh, to dream…”
But being on home ‘sand’ for a right Royal knees up – Jane’s living the Yorkshire dream as she prepares for the one-night only concert, where she will be joined by a host of special guests.
“It’s going to be amazing. A really rousing night, full of song,” she explained. “I’ve been going through what we are going to do with my musical director.
“We’ve got to keep it under wraps, we want it to be a big surprise! But what I can say is it will be a real sing-along event – bring your voices, and it’ll be emotional, without a doubt. A good old party.
“Of course, it’s a celebration of the Queen’s life, but also all our lives and life in general after the past couple of years. A celebration of life as we know it.”
Tickets are on sale now from scarboroughopenairtheatre.com