Three Degrees singing legend Sheila Ferguson agrees to go on a dinner date with a gentleman - for the first time in eight years - in one of the forthcoming episodes of ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’ Series 2.
The hit documentary series returns this week with eight more celebrity pensioners heading off on their adventures to southern India, where 69-year-old Sheila is surprised by a romantic invitation from a local well-to-do gentleman.
Sheila has the same ravishing features that famously caught the eye of her biggest fan, the Prince of Wales, back in the 1970s. It’s no surprise that she would catch the eye of her suitor when the ‘Real Marigold’ group goes partying together in the third episode of the series. However, when he asks her, in the most polite terms, if she would consider him as a companion, she rightly suggests, “Shall we start with dinner?”
Sheila has been living on her own for the past eight years, and tells HuffPostUK she realises now it’s time for her to make some changes to her life.
“My partner died and I lived on my own in Majorca. Somehow, I never started dating and I realised, if I’m living in a big mansion in Majorca, who’s going to come up to my gate and say ‘Hi, can I take you out?’ Nobody.
“So I need to be in London, England, where I know people, there’s a social life, there’s the television I’m used to. There’s no reason to stay there on my own any more. I suddenly realised I’m still bored, alone. It’s not a good quality of life.”
With Sheila during this year’s series are Bill Oddie, Rustie Lee, Dennis Taylor, Paul Nicholas, Dr Miriam Stoppard, Lionel Blair and Amanda Barrie, and it’s fair to say each of them have their eyes opened by the experience of trying out a life of retirement in Southern India.
“It’s one of the reasons I did the show,” says Sheila.
“It gets very intense and emotional, the spiritual things that come out. Everybody had their own personal experiences.
“Being single, it hit me a lot. I think we were all very honest.
“This show made me address things that I hadn’t confronted before - like getting older, like moving to a country where I have people around me.
“I need to be more receptive to other people. You have to instigate what you’ve learned.”
‘The Real Marigold Hotel’ debuts on Wednesday at 9pm on BBC One.