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Coleen Nolan feared Nolans Go Cruising show would spark more spats with sisters

Daily Record logoDaily Record 02/07/2020 Georgia Humphreys
Linda Nolan, Coleen Nolan posing for the camera: Linda, Coleen, Anne and Maureen joined together again for The Nolans Go Cruising © PA Linda, Coleen, Anne and Maureen joined together again for The Nolans Go Cruising

Record columnist Coleen Nolan was dubious about making a TV show with her sisters.

In the past, there have been public feuds between the siblings, who found fame as Irish girl group The Nolans, who first formed as The Nolan Sisters in 1974.

And Coleen – the youngest of the family at 55 – was worried they wouldn’t get on as they travelled the Mediterranean together for The Nolans Go Cruising, which will air on digital channel Quest Red.

“You’re together 24/7, for two weeks, which we haven’t done since we were kids,” said the Loose Women host.

Linda Nolan et al. posing for the camera: The Nolan sisters ready for their performance of 'I'm In The Mood For Dancing' on the cruise ship stage. © PA The Nolan sisters ready for their performance of 'I'm In The Mood For Dancing' on the cruise ship stage.

“I thought, ‘We could end doing this show and end up getting off this cruise and not ever speaking again’.”

Luckily, the opposite happened and she feels she has reconnected with Maureen, 66, Linda, 61, and Anne, 69.

“I feel closer to them now, I think, than ever,” she said, adding with a chuckle: “I mean, don’t get me wrong, they still get on my nerves...”

The eight-part series finds all four surviving sisters single for the first time in their adult lives, as they embark on two cruises on board the MSC Grandiosa.

We also see them prepare for a performance of their biggest hit in front of their fellow passengers on the final night of the trip.

Maureen said: “We were all really nervous and wary about doing that because obviously Bernie sang the lead in I’m In the Mood For Dancing.”

Throughout the show, the foursome mention their sister Bernie, who died of breast cancer in 2013, a lot.

Maureen said: “It’s very cathartic to talk things out, whatever it is.

"She will never be forgotten. She was too vibrant a character for anyone to forget her.

“All her friends feel the same, and, because we worked together for so long, every single song is a memory of Bernie. She was hysterically funny as well.”

Bernie Nolan et al. posing for a photo: The Nolan Sisters in 1978 with Maureen, Anne and Denise (From left, back row) with Linda (front left) and Bernie (front right) © Daily Record The Nolan Sisters in 1978 with Maureen, Anne and Denise (From left, back row) with Linda (front left) and Bernie (front right)

Coleen said: “When we do get together as sisters, especially when we were filming the cruise, I felt like she was with us, because everything we did, it was like ‘Oh, Bernie would have loved this’, ‘Can you imagine if Bernie was here?’”

Opening up about the falling-out with Anne, Coleen revealed they sorted out their differences “quite a few years ago” after losing Bernie.

She said: “You go, ‘What were we doing? How stupid were we to carry that on as long as we did?’ Me and Anne, we

did a lot of filming, just the two of us going off for the day, and I think it brought me and Anne probably closer than I’ve ever been with her, and I’m kind of regretting that I spent too long not speaking to her.”

Coleen took over from Anne, her oldest sister, in 1980, after Anne discovered she was pregnant and decided to leave.

On stage in Blackpool, Anne left during their version of Cliff Richards’ Miss You Nights in Blackpool, with Coleen walking on and taking over her spot.

The sisters hit their commerical peak in the late 70s and early 80s with UK No3 I’m in the Mood for Dancing, Don’t Make Waves, Gotta Pull Myself Together and Attention to Me.

When they were offered a comeback tour in 2009, things soured between Anne and Coleen when Universal said only the four Nolan sisters who were in the line-up during their most successful period and Anne wasn’t included.

Both Maureen and Coleen are relieved that, even though The Nolans Go Cruising is ­described as “part reality show”, it’s not a dramatic watch.

Maureen said: “They really weren’t out to get a horrible story, or instigate arguments or anything.

“They did say, all the way through, ‘If you say something and then you change your mind, because you didn’t like the way that came out, then absolutely say’. So, we felt protected.”

Coleen said: “I think that’s what got the best out of us in the end, because we felt safe that they weren’t trying to set us up.

“A lot of these reality-type shows, they are scripted, and they are set up.

“I get it – the public loves a row and they say, ‘It makes great telly’. I just didn’t want to be a part of that.”

Bernie Nolan et al. posing for a photo: The Nolan Sisters at the peak of their success © SF/LFI The Nolan Sisters at the peak of their success

What really comes out watching the show is how happy they all are to be open about their personal lives, discussing everything from low self-esteem, middle age, and Linda’s fight with incurable breast cancer.

The 61-year-old actress, singer and TV personality was in remission for six years following her breast cancer diagnosis in 2006, before being told by

doctors in 2017 that she had secondary cancer in her hip.

Maureen said: “I see Linda every day because we live literally two doors away from each other, so I know what she’s going through.

“When you hear her talk about it in depth, it’s very moving and you realise how fantastic she is.”

After the death of her husband, Linda struggled to “even turn a corner”, Maureen continued, and then her cancer returned.

She said: “All of this has created arthritis as well, which is really debilitating. She doesn’t complain very much, and she still loves a gin!”

Mother-of-three Coleen announced her divorce from her second husband, Ray Fensome, in 2018.

So, did she find any love on the cruise?

“I’d love to say yes. And trust me I looked, everywhere,” quipped the star, who shares 19-year-old Ciara with Ray, and is also mum to Shane Jr, 31, and Jake (whose dad is actor and singer Shane Richie).

“We were concentrating on finding Linda love, but, don’t get me wrong, there were some beautiful-looking males where we’d all go, ‘He’s gorgeous.’

“The thing is, I’m all talk because I say all of this and then if one of them had even slightly said anything, I would have died and turned into a 10-year- old.

"I’d be overboard and swimming backtoshore.”

Maureen, who split from her husband in 2018 after 28 years together, added: “There were all these beautiful men around, but you look at them and you think, ‘Oh my God, they’re 25’, and Linda said: “Never date a man you could have breastfed.”

“I always say I’d never date a man I could have given birth to,” said Coleen. “That’s my rule.”

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