Our undeniable highlight of this year’s TV Baftas was seeing Jane McDonald - yes, Jane McDonald from ‘The Cruise’ and ‘Loose Women’ - making her way up the podium to excitedly accept her award, with a cry of: “Oh, flipping ’eck!”
Just over a month after ‘Cruising With Jane McDonald’ scooped the Features prize at the event, the TV personality (and all-round national treasure) talked us through the big night.
Here’s how that conversation went...
Jane, congratulations on your first Bafta!
[Jane shrieks down the phone.]
How did you react when you found out you were nominated?
Shock. Absolute shock. I was on a ship, filming ‘Cruising’, and it was my birthday. So there was a party that night, we celebrated like you’ve never seen before when we found out we got nominated. And we were all in a very dark place the next day...
We thought the nomination was big enough for us, but then to win it. It was just like… oh my goodness. But how fabulous for Channel 5 as well, because that was their first Bafta as well.
There’s a lot of love out there for you, but did you ever think you had a chance of actually winning?
No!! No. In fact, I nearly didn’t go, because I was filming ‘Jane And Friends’ the next morning, very early in Manchester. And I was saying, “I don’t really think I should go to this because I’m really busy”. So it was a last minute thing when everything just got put together.
And then I went - and thank goodness I did go. It was a night I’ll never, ever forget. Oh my goodness. I’m still in shock.
Tell us about the night itself. Were you able to do any celeb-spotting?
Well, I sort of was whisked in and then whisked out. I didn’t see many people, due to the fact that when you do win a Bafta you’re taken backstage for a load of press, and so you don’t see anything else. Once you’ve got your Bafta, that’s it.
But I did meet Sir David Attenborough. I met all the ‘Corrie’ cast. Clare Balding. Sandi Toksvig. So many people watch our show, and I was gobsmacked! So, for me, it was a humbling night.
Who was the most surprising person who told you they were a fan of ‘Cruising With Jane McDonald’?
I think Clare Balding. You know, because she’s like posh and everything, isn’t she? So I was really shocked, but she said, “oh, we just love it”. And she made a point of coming over to me as well, to say it.
But to spend it with all the Channel 5 team… and my partner! You know, my partner is key in a lot of this, because he’s the one that literally sees the back of my head going out the door when I say, “I’m off again, love, I’ll see you when I get back”. I mean, he’s the one who says, “where’s your washing? Give it here.” So, I’m lucky to have the support and the network that I’ve got.
And he looked fabulous! I just thought, “yeah, this is my fella!”, because I think a lot of people think I’ve made him up, or he’s a figment of my imagination when actually I really have got a boyfriend.
It was nice for people to see [him] and think, “wow”, because he is a bit gorgeous actually. He should come out more often, really. He is fabulous, and I look at him in his new suit and I think, “yeah, that’s my fella”.
We’re obviously used to seeing you looking very glam on ‘Jane And Friends’, what was your getting-ready routine for Baftas night?
Oh god, I had the same team [as on ‘Jane And Friends’]. Because literally, it was so last minute for me to go to the Baftas that I just had to say “can someone sort me a frock out?” and “can someone make me look good?”. Because, if they hadn’t have done it, I wouldn’t have looked anything like that [laughs].
So yeah, I did have Lee Din who does me on ‘Jane And Friends’ doing my hair and make-up, and then I had the wonderful Nicola Atkinson sorting out my outfit, as well.
How did you decide what to wear for such an important night?
Well when you’ve got people like that behind you, I mean Nicola Atkinson is probably one of the best stylists in the world, to me, she just knows how to make me look the best.
And my PA Sue Ravey was there as well. It was between two dresses, and Sue had the final say, she went: “Oh, get your sequins on, girl.” So I said, “yeah alright, then”. If anyone can wear sequins to the Baftas, love, it’s me.
What was going through your head when they announced you as the winner?
It was disbelief. Shock. I mean… I hadn’t even written a speech. Thank goodness for Mark Powell, my executive producer on the show, because he handed me a bit of paper for my handbag... And I said, “I don’t even need this! Why are we even going?” So thank goodness for him for writing everything down for me, because I didn’t have a clue.
And to hear the cheer from the crowd from my peers, as well, was something I’ll never, probably, experience ever again, it was great to be there with people who I work alongside. I mean, to be in that category with all those wonderful, wonderful programmes… I’ll be forever grateful to the Baftas for that.
You were quite an unlikely winner, did you encounter any sort of snobbery on the night, or was it all positivity?
If there was any snobbery, I did not see it. Everything that I saw that night was positive, it was full of love, and I have always said that what you give out is what you receive back.
I have a lot of love and a lot of respect for everybody in my industry. And trust me, I never take where I am for granted. I’m always grateful for everything that I get a chance to do. And, you know, that reflects on what you get back.
Did you manage to get to any after-parties? We know you love to party...
Oh, I think everyone knows I like to party. I got to the point, because my partner was there actually, where he said, “I don’t want to rain on your parade here, love, but you are drinking a lot of champagne, and you do start filming in three hours”.
So I thought, “OK get me in a car now”. And that’s when I had to fly up to Manchester. And I looked like the Wreck of the Hesperus [laughs] but it was worth it, every bit.
How was filming the day after the Baftas? Was it a tough slog?
[deadpan] Yes. It was. [laughs] But, of course, the adrenaline… adrenaline is a wonderful thing, you know, everybody was coming up to me and screaming, so I got through on adrenaline alone that day.
It was a wonderful day and, again, one I’ll never forget.
What was the highlight of Baftas night for you?
Probably the whole reaction. The red carpet is wonderful and seeing all the fans all there… and them actually knowing who I am, that’s always nice, isn’t it? And having a conversation with Declan Donnelly and his lovely wife, who I’ve known for years.
People forget that I’ve been in this industry for quite some time now, and I knew a lot of the people there, and that’s obviously nice, thinking “blimey, I’m at the Baftas, and I’m nominated for a Bafta, and I’m with all these amazingly talented people”. And to be included in that group, in that club, is the highlight for me.
The new series of ‘Jane And Friends’ begins on Friday 6 July at 9pm on Channel 5.