‘Jane McDonald has won 2018’s understatement of the year award’

I know there are still a few days to go but Jane McDonald may have already won 2018’s understatement of the year award.

Last week, she tweeted that she’d got “a few shows on Channel 5” over the festive period. A few? Our Jane was on for two and half hours on Saturday night alone.

That was just the warm up though. On New Year’s Eve, she’s taking over the channel from 8pm to 1.30am. (At this point, I’d like to think Jane would make a joke about straddling Big Ben.)

Not that I’m complaining. Some people sniff at her Professional Northerner routine but I can’t get enough of it. In fact, if only Tess Daly could display a fraction of Jane’s wit and comic timing, I bet she’d get far less stick from a certain section of Strictly fans.

Jane kicked off on Saturday with a Christmas special of her variety show featuring “the wonderful Tony Hadley, the lovely Zoe Birkett and the extraordinary Roy Wood”. I don’t think Jane was necessarily throwing shade at Roy with that description but it did have a whiff of a raised eyebrow.

“Do you still wish it could be Christmas every day?” Jane asked after he’d played you-know-what.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” he said, with the pent-up frustration of a man about to enter the 46th year of having his other work cruelly overlooked. Just keep thinking of those festive royalty cheques, Roy.

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