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Jane McDonald hosts two festive specials, beginning tonight with friends Tony Hadley, Zoe Birkett and Roy Wood

Get ready to party because the Wonder from Wakefield is back for the first of two festive extravaganzas with celebrity pals. Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley certainly puts a twinkle in Jane’s eye, while Pop Idol contestant-turned-West End star Zoe Birkett also drops by – and Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without an appearance from Roy Wood and his Rock ’n’ Roll band.

But there’s bound to be a lump in your throat as Jane plays Santa for deserving members of her audience, including Lorraine Tabone, who set up a charity to help the homeless, and single dad Ben Carpenter, who has adopted four children with disabilities.

Jane: 12 Cruises of Christmas follows.

TV Times rating: ****

Jane and Friends at Christmas

Jane McDonald is back for a Christmas special

By her own admission, Jane McDonald has had an ‘incredible’ 2018.

As well as winning a BAFTA 
for Channel 5’s Cruising with Jane McDonald, the warm and witty entertainer has marked 20 years since she came to fame on 
docu-soap The Cruise by singing her heart out around the country on her anniversary tour.

JANE MACDONALD New years Eve SPECIAL

Alexandra Burke joins Jane on the show for her New Year special

As TV Times discovers when we meet up with Jane, 55, for an exclusive interview, there’s no time for a well-earned rest this Christmas!

She has not one, but an impressive four glitzy shows to entertain us with – Christmas and New Year specials of her singing spectacular Jane McDonald & Friends, Jane: 12 Cruises of Christmas and Jane McDonald Cruising Down Under. Here, Jane tells us more…

It sounds like a busy Christmas for you!

I’m Mrs Christmas! It’s crazy but wonderful! The Christmas Jane McDonald & Friends is nostalgic with Tony Hadley – who is a little tinker – and Roy Wood, and the New Year one with Alexandra Burke and Gilbert O’Sullivan is the best party ever.

Tell us about 12 Cruises of Christmas and Cruising Down Under. Were they fun to make?

12 Cruises… is a compilation with lots of unseen footage so that’s amazing. Australia was phenomenal; I met koalas, kangaroos and dingos, and I went surfing. I also visited a prison – you can check if your ancestors were there. All mine came up as convicts!

Any scary moments?

I did a camel ride at sunset. It was beautiful but getting on and off was scary! Swimming with crocodiles was petrifying too.