Coleen Nolan will remain on Loose Women for ‘as long as they want me,’ despite being irritated by internet trolls and dealing with virtually daily feud rumours, which the panel dismisses.
The musician and TV icon has been a regular on the daytime talk show for 23 years, with just a brief absence from the panel in 2013 because she ‘wasn’t loving it at that moment’.
Since coming back however, she sees the show as her ‘second home’ and the women as her ‘sisters’ – and it upsets her that people ‘want to tear it down.’
‘Contrary to what’s being printed all over the place, it’s not a toxic environment at all in any way,’ Coleen said ahead of the announcement of her new show and tour, Naked.
‘We do genuinely all get on like family. They are like my sisters. Sometimes I’ll think, “You’re really getting on my nerves today” – like I would with my sister – and then the next minute we’re having a coffee together or we’re laughing.’
Constantly hearing rumours or reports that the panellists secretly hate each other is ‘a shame,’ she goes on. ‘I don’t know what’s going on but people are trying to cause situations that don’t need to be there. And I think that’s sad.’
‘I couldn’t sit on a panel day in, day out next to women that I absolutely hate, and laugh at their jokes, I just couldn’t. I would leave! I left before because I wasn’t enjoying it at one point, and that was years ago.’
The cast are well aware of the rift rumours, often alluding to the claims with a tongue-in-cheek snark during the show, and Coleen reveals they often laugh at it behind the scenes too. ‘”Coleen and Ruth at war” is a good one,’ she laughs. ‘We all look at it and go, “Oh my God, we’re at war today. We hate each other this week.” It’s honestly hilarious.’
Despite how she seems on Loose Women, Coleen confesses she is’sensitive’ and hates it when she says anything that upsets someone – but she is growing ‘hardened’ to people criticising her on social media.
‘I’m always thinking, “Oh Christ, what have I just said?”
‘[Loose Women’s] appeal is that you can only be honest, it’s an opinion-based show. Not everyone is going to agree with your opinion. I’m quite sensitive to that but lots of the other girls aren’t bothered if they get trolled. They’re like, “well, that’s my opinion.” But I’m like, “oh no!”‘
When Loose Women first started over 20 years ago, she says, ‘you could absolutely, 100% say what your opinion is but nowadays you can’t because there’s always someone to offend.’
‘And I don’t really want to offend anyone. But I’m asked my opinion and I have to be honest, but you go, “I don’t think I should say that because I don’t want to offend.”‘
‘I never ever, ever, intentionally set out to hurt anybody or upset them. So sometimes when I get messages going “you said this, and that’s really wrong and that really upset me” – well, it upsets me that I’ve upset you because I don’t mean to. But if it’s just that someone doesn’t agree with my opinion, isn’t that what life’s about? Life would be very boring if we all agreed on everything. ‘
She describes the journalists on the panel, such as Jane Moore and Janet Street Porter, as “brave and fearless” in the face of internet attacks on their opinions.
‘They want people to like them, but if they don’t [like them], what can they do? Whereas I’ll come home and go, “Why don’t they like me?” I’m like a pathetic puppy that’s been kicked. That’s what I’m like.
‘I’m getting hardened a bit to it, but what I hate is when it’s been interpreted completely the opposite how I said it. I might have an opinion and they take one line from it, and people are going “I can’t believe you said that,’ but they haven’t even watched the show, they’ve taken it from a headline! Or someone takes one line out of what I’ve said and makes a double-page spread of it. That annoys me.
‘I’m kind of learning to go, “it doesn’t matter, there’ll be a different headline next week.” But it is hard, and it’s much harder now than it was 20 years ago because of social media.’
She goes on: ‘It’s hard to do an opinion-based show nowadays, that’s why I think it’s sad when they try and tear it down because it’s the one show on telly that celebrates women of all ages, all opinions, and all different eras of how we grew up.’
Coleen chuckles as she acknowledges that if she were as ‘bloody rich’ as Penny, she would do the same.
‘Penny hasn’t done it for months and months. She’s mainly been over in LA with Rod and he’s been touring. She only really came in when she was available, when she and Rod were in London. And then she became a Special Constable, and she’s got a family and she’s also bloody rich enough to do what she wants!
‘Not being funny, as much as I love it I probably wouldn’t spend four days away from home every week if I was loaded. “I might just do one this week!” But Penny never left on horrible terms, we all got on great with her. But she’s got other things going on in life. Her kids are still young. And she’s married to a massive rock star who tours the world. I’d rather do that to be honest!’
Coleen has a dream squad of new ladies she’d want to see join the programme, including Dawn French and even Adele – but most enthusiastically, she picks Miriam Margolyes, who she describes as ‘brilliant, she makes me belly laugh.’
‘Production wouldn’t like it, because we’re live and we’re at half past 12. So it would be very, very hard to police,’ she says, alluding to Miriam’s legendary explicit rants.
A past-the-watershed Loose Women wouldn’t work however, as Coleen reckons one of the reasons the daytime show is so popular is ‘because people like what you’re insinuating, they like an innuendo.’
‘I can look at the camera and know that Mrs Smith knows exactly what I’m thinking, whether it’s rude or angry. I don’t necessarily think people want to hear us sitting there effing and blinding and being really graphic about things. The whole funniness of it is, “I know what you’re thinking, but you can’t say it.”‘
Coleen appears on Loose Women up to four times a week, but she’s now returning to her roots and on the road for her new show Naked, in which she performs and interacts with audiences across the country.
‘You can expect every emotion going, I want people singing along, I want them crying. I want them laughing, I want them dancing. I’m going to try and make it almost autobiographical but through music, all the different parts of my life. I’m hoping to have screens up there so I can show pictures of when I was singing on stage at two years old with my family.
‘I want it to be a couple of hours where people don’t have to think about the s**t that’s going on in the world. Because let’s be honest, it’s so depressing at the moment. I just want it to be a really good fun, night-out, party kind of atmosphere.’
Coleen Nolan: Naked tour begins in February 2024, tickets are available from coleentour.com