A group of female celebrities have signed up to bare all on TV to raise awareness of breast cancer. One of them, Blackpool’s own Coleen Nolan, talks about why the show hits particularly close to home for her.
They say bad news comes in threes.
“Three sisters. What are the chances?’ says Coleen Nolan, admitting her own ‘selfish’ fears about breast cancer.
Her sisters Anne and Linda have battled the disease - Linda was diagnosed with secondary cancer early last year, and it’s five years since Bernie died from breast cancer.
So it comes as perhaps no surprise that Blackpool-born TV personality Coleen jumped at the chance to bare all as part of the return of ITV’s The Real Full Monty.
Last year, a troupe of male celebrities bravely recreated the famous film’s striptease to raise awareness of male cancers and this year sister show The Real Full Monty: Ladies’ Night will be fronted by Coleen.
The show will once more be choreographed by Diversity’s Ashley Banjo, and will feature broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, Emmerdale actress Sally Dexter, reality TV star Megan McKenna, former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton, actress Helen Lederer, TV legend Ruth Madoc and presenter Sarah-Jane Crawford.
“Five years ago this year I lost my sister Bernie to breast cancer,” the 53-year-old Coleen recalls.
“My elder sister Anne had breast cancer in 2001 and Linda had breast cancer in 2006 and has just been re-diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, so it’s become a massive part of our family.
“It (was) horrendous when we lost Bernie and now we’ve got the worry of Linda, but you also selfishly think, ‘Three sisters. What are the chances?’
“You worry about your own mortality and now I worry about my daughter and my nieces and nephews.
“It’s just really important to get the awareness out there about checking yourself.”
She’s received support from her Loose Women co-stars as well as the all-important go-ahead from her three children - two sons and one daughter with ex-husband Shane Richie and soon-to-be-ex-husband Ray Fensome respectively – and, importantly, Linda (pictured left).
“The one thing I thought was, ‘If I ask the kids and they say, ‘Oh mum that’s embarrassing’ or, ‘I don’t want you to do it’, then I’ll have to respect them,” said the Loose Woman, who rose to prominence as the youngest member of her Irish family girl group The Nolans.
“But from the moment I mentioned it, without hesitation all three of them [said], ‘Oh mum, you’ve got to do it’ because they loved the boys’ one. Linda thought it was a fantastic idea and even now she will text me and go, ‘Come on, you can do this’.
“When she came to see us on one of the filming days, she got really emotional. She said it means a lot to her, and she’s been through it, so we’re hoping it will affect other people.”
For Nolan, who reveals she also has the support of Fensome, it’s set to be a case of overcoming the nerves on the night. But how?
“I don’t know!” she quips. “I am loving the routine. I am really enjoying every minute of it, but I still get those moments – even in the middle of the night – when I think, ‘Oh God, I just don’t know if I can move those feathers’.
Laughing, she adds: “I am having nightmares about feathers! I think on the night, the adrenaline rush and the reaction from the crowd will hopefully spur [me] on. And to just constantly remember why we’re doing it.”
- The Real Full Monty: Ladies’ Night will air on ITV on Thursday March 29