Col’s in the mood for singing

Posted 14th March 2024

Coleen Nolan will be getting Naked in Northampton this March, in a manner of speaking. She told Pulse’s Sammy Jones what’s on the musical menu…

She’s the Loose Woman with the quick wit and the empathetic nature, and she’s super confident. Or so we thought, but talking to Coleen Nolan she assures us that she struggles with confidence.

“I am scared of everything. I have been doing Loose Women for something like 23 or 24 years, and before every show I get nervous,” she admits, “Even the Loose Women are like ‘I can’t believe you still get nervous.’ But I don’t necessarily think nerves are a bad thing and it’s because whatever I set my mind to, I want to do it well.”

Right now, Coleen is out on the road starring in her own theatre show, Naked, and those nerves are bristling. Incredibly, this is the first time she has stepped out solo. Which begs the question; ‘Why do it?’ and ‘Why now?’

“…because I don’t want to get to an age where I can’t do it and it’s a regret,” she considers, “Singing is what I grew up with and it is the love of my life in a way.
“There is no denying I am scared to death,” she admits, “I sometimes wake up and think I’ll just get in my car and drive away somewhere, but equally I am excited and looking forward to it because it is not the end of the world. No-one is going to get hurt.

“I don’t want society to say to me, ‘You are too old to be doing that now.’ You are never too old – if there’s something you want to do, just do it.”
Worrying about the curtain rising every night is a drag, and she can’t even reach for a cigarette to have a different sort of drag; after a lifetime of smoking, Coleen stubbed the last one out before Christmas.

“Oh you have no idea!” she says when we ask her how it’s going, “The times I have got in my car to run out and buy 1000 cigarettes is unbelievable with the stress!” she laughs, “…but I haven’t. It’s hard, I’ve been smoking since I was a kid, but I got such a bad chest infection at the beginning of December, and they were talking about, you might have COPD, or you might end up with emphysema. I was on inhalers and steroids and thought, ‘What am I doing?’

“I want to be around for as long as possible for my family, my kids and grandkids, so I thought ‘I need to stop’.”

Naked is a concert with some nattering in between, not the other way around. Reaching for the mic and belting out an earworm is hardly a novelty for Coleen, who made her name as the youngest of family supergroup, The Nolans.

“…every kind of girly anthem you can think of,” is the setlist promise, “I want everyone up dancing and singing, but obviously there will be bits in between where I speak, I am not just going to sing for an hour and a half.

“I’d like to maybe take some questions from the audience, but the vast majority of it is a concert with a band and backing singers.
“Some of these songs do have a meaning to me and fit into things that have happened in my life, whether it’s my marriages breaking down, or amazing things that have happened, or a song I used to dance round my kitchen to…”

It will be a jukebox of banging tracks: “I do a bit of Cher, I’ve got Whitney in there, I’ve got Miley Cyrus, a girl band medley, another girl band instead of us, obviously I’ve got some Nolans stuff in there, a bit of everything…”

There will still be a family connection in the show too – son Shane is supporting and might well join his mum for a duet.
“We are so close anyway, but we also really bounce off each other, and he is a brilliant entertainer himself. He’s really, really good….”

When it comes to having a good old chinwag, Coleen excels – it’s what Loose Women is all about, after all. Is there any subject that would make her squirm?
“I think it depends on the timing of it. There’s no subject I’m scared of talking about, but, for example, before I started talking about my second marriage when it was coming to an end, I waited until it did come to an end, because I don’t think that would have been fair on me or him.

“There is a time when it’s the right time, but as far as topics go, I am a bit of an open book. Obviously nowadays you have to be very careful about what you talk about, because we are a cancelling culture and you can say one thing that is slightly controversial and that’s you done.”
Does that make you think before you speak?

“It makes us all wary now. We were talking about this recently on Loose, I think it’s the 25th anniversary this year, and compared to 25 years ago, the things we could discuss openly then – even if you didn’t agree with someone’s opinion – you just can’t do that anymore to a degree.

“In some ways it’s a shame, although I do think all the change that has happened has been for the better really, and it’s a learning process.
“Even what I thought 25 years ago, I wouldn’t think that now, because you learn yourself and you grow, and if you can’t do that, then you should be cancelled! she says.

Age is a big conversation starter on Loose Women, and for us all, but Coleen – who is nearly 60, but ‘I feel 25’ – has accrued wisdom aplenty during her days on planet earth. Recently, she’s learned how to say ‘no’. A little word, but using it can have a big impact.

“I was always scared of upsetting people and said yes to things I didn’t want to do because I was too frightened to say ‘no’. All of a sudden I got to an age, probably only in the last two years, where I thought ‘I’m gonna learn to say ‘no’ and be ok with it.’

“I don’t intentionally ever want to upset people, but if I do, then I do, because I spent a lot of time where I would walk away and go ‘I’m not comfortable doing this’ or, ‘I don’t really want to do this’ but it makes them happy so I’ll do it. And I’m not doing that any more.

“Losing a sister and having another one with brain cancer, you realise, ‘God, how fragile life is’,” she says, about doing what she wants to do.
One of those things she is committed to supporting is The Real Full Monty annual television specials, which sees celebrities stripping off to swell the coffers for cancer charities. If you tune in, you’ll laugh and cry. Guaranteed.

“It is a really hard show to do because your emotions are everywhere, and it’s a lot of filming, it is hard work leading up to it; it’s a good two or three months of filming.

“I love that even while I’m sitting watching it I have people messaging me saying, ‘I’ve just examined myself and I’ve found a lump and I wouldn’t have found it if you hadn’t reminded me to check.’ Loads of them text back and go it was just a cyst or whatever, and some people have said, ‘It’s cancer but I’ve caught it early, and I wouldn’t have, had I not watched the show. And that’s why I do it.”

Coleen’s life is laid bare on Loose Women; her time in the spotlight, her personal life, her family’s brave battles with illness. Even the day to day business of feeding her pet goats. Seriously.

These days she shares her wisdom working as an Agony Aunt on a national newspaper.
“I like to think of myself more as an agony friend than an agony aunt,” she confesses, “Some people haven’t got friends or family members to talk to, or they just can’t talk to people.

“I base it on my own life experiences, and what I would say to any friend of mine going through anything – and it’s always easier when you are not emotionally involved to give advice, but it’s really hard to listen to that advice sometimes; people did it with me and I was walking away going, ‘You don’t understand,’ but actually they were right.

“I’ve had therapy loads of times throughout my life and it’s been brilliant.

“You need somebody that has no preconceived ideas about you, or the person or people you are talking about. I find that a lot of the problems I get is because of the lack of communication between people who find it so hard to talk; whether it’s to a partner, to kids, parents… they just can’t talk.

“I find it hard to stop talking!” she giggles, “That thought is mind-blowing for me – ‘what do you mean you can’t talk?’”
Quite rightly, she takes the role seriously.

“I would never give somebody advice if they wrote to me and they were drug addicts or alcoholics or abusers or whatever, I would always direct them to the professionals, because that’s where I don’t have a right, I don’t know enough to deal with someone like that,” she admits, “But if it’s to do with relationships or kids or anything day to day life, menopause…I’ve been there and done it. I can only say how I got through something, and if that helps them, then great.”
When it comes to her own problems, Coleen has to head to the magazine aisle in the supermarket to learn more.

“I love going into Tesco’s and reading about my life in the magazines, and the things that even I didn’t know were happening!

“Like you said, they will make a really big headline out of nothing. I saw one last week and it was something like, ‘Coleen; I can’t do this any more’ and I thought, ‘Jesus Christ, what can’t I do? I had to stop and read it!

“The only ones that upset me is if they have got it so wrong and it’s a defamation of character, or they really have taken something out of context that could be dangerous for what I do. Then I have a problem with it.

“But if it is just gossip that has got a bit exaggerated that’s fine.”
Now Coleen is saying ‘no’ more, she spends more time in her happy place at home, but the animal mad lady has her hands full there, too: “Four dogs, three cats, two goats and a pony,” is the current non-human tally.

And a house move is on the cards: “I have bought a smaller house with a bit more land because I am animal crazy. Ciara (Coleen’s daughter) has had a pony since she was 10 years old and she’s 23 now, and I want to get the pony to the house, with a little friend. That has always been my dream.

“I would love to open a small sanctuary. That’s on my bucket list, to open a sanctuary of some kind. I’ll look into that as soon as I move.”
And the pecking order will change with the move – literally: “At the house I am moving to I am inheriting ducks and chickens…”
But back to the here and now, and Coleen will bring Naked to The Old Savoy on March 2.

“The climate we’re in at the moment is all very depressing. Just to come out and forget your troubles for a couple of hours and to get up and dance and have a fun night out would do everyone good I think, and I’d love to provide that for everyone.”

And she does mean everyone – this ain’t just for the girls…
“Oh god, no, the more men the merrier!” she laughs again, “I’m very open to men turning up as well!”

Coleen Nolan, ‘Naked’ comes to The Old Savoy on March 2.

To book, visit