Jane McDonald: ‘Every day feels like I’m just starting!’

Loose Women star Jane McDonald talks to TV Times magazine about how her landmark birthday has rejuvenated her career, starting with a new makeover series, and why she hates Carol McGiffin…

You recently celebrated your 50th birthday. How did you feel about reaching the milestone?
“It’s a great time in life. When you’re getting older you think things are going to slow down and run out. But this is as if I’ve just come off The Cruise again! There are so many offers coming in right now, things I couldn’t have done in my twenties because they’re all for a mature lady, who obviously looks very young!”

That’s great to hear!
“It’s all just going to plan, I hate to say that because it’s tempting fate. But every day it feels as if I’m just starting which is a great feeling to have at this time in your career.”

And you’re branching out to front a new daytime makeover show for ITV, Star Treatment (weekdays)…
“I’ve always said I think the key to success is what you turn down. I’ve turned down a lot. I’ve been very grateful for everything that’s been offered, but you have to be careful what you go into. But Star Treatment, as soon as I saw it, I said: ‘That’s my show. It’s fabulous! It’s got Jane McDonald written all over it’ – it’s camp, it’s got happy endings, lots of smiles and lots of emotion.”

The series sees you and a style team visit workplaces around the UK to reward some unsung heroes with a VIP experience…
“It’s the campest thing you’ve ever seen in your life! We’ve been to supermarkets, call centres, bakeries and met some really lovely people. I’m absolutely rubbish because I have to cry with them. I’d be useless on shows like Surprise Surprise or Long Lost Family – I’m in a heap by the end!”

Do you enjoy having your hair and make-up done, too? It’s a staple when you’re in show business…
“We take it for granted that we get looked after and we have our make-up and hair done everyday so we feel great when we go out. The people on the show have got hairnets and overalls on all day on because, say, they’re in bakeries. It’s just great to see the transformations happen and when they walk down the catwalk, they’ve got this confidence. I wanted to do feelgood TV and I’ve certainly got it!”

Who is your top style icon?
“Joanna Lumley always looks great. And Lynda Bellingham always looks fabulous, and Carol McGiffin always looks a million dollars no matter what she puts on. She’s got her own style which I absolutely love. It wouldn’t suit me, but because she’s so slender she can wear anything, and I hate her for that actually!”

Do you enjoy putting outfits together when you’re off-screen too?
“I tend to save up and buy pieces that are going to last me for years, so I invest in a really good pair of black trousers. In the UK, if you want to shop on budget or go with the seasons that’s fantastic because we’ve got some great high street stores that will allow you to do that. But I tend to know my style and stick to what works for me.”

What designers do you like?
“I’m a big of [leading Canadian women’s clothing designer] Joseph Ribkoff. The clothes have always got a very good fabric so it doesn’t cling in places that it shouldn’t cling in and I can roll it up, put it in a suitcase and not have to think about ‘Have they got an iron?’ I also like to shop on the High Street and I love Phase 8, French Connection and Debenhams – when that Blue Cross sale’s on, I’m in there!”