It’s hard to do one of those trite fashionista and trashinista interviews with Coleen Nolan when she’s In The Mood (sorry, couldn’t resist it) for talking about anything and everything other than Denial, her latest book.
It’s book number two (if you don’t count the autobiography).
Denial is the sequel to Envy, which has sold 500,000 copies, set in the cut-throat world of telly fame and following the adventures, from boardroom to bedroom (occasionally combining both) of five women presenters of a programme called Girl Talk.
She penned the book in hotel bedrooms on Monday nights, while filming Loose Women, the real-life series (ITV1, weekdays, 12.30-1.30pm).
Take it from her, gentle reader, Loose Women were never that loose. Coleen is indulging a few “fantasies”, she says. Some have won her a few reproachful glances from the love of her life, (second) husband Ray, but Coleen takes that in her all-conquering stride.
If that’s not enough to send a cold shiver down the collective spine of fellow Loose Women hostesses, there’s even death on Denial. Or rather death in Denial – although it doesn’t sound quite so Agatha Christie-ish.
It’s a veritable body bag blockbuster, which sees Coleen’s literary serial killer already tipped for a TV series.
Her anti-heroines, the Girl Talk presenters, are out of work and out for revenge on the man who publicly humiliated them and destroyed their careers – and that’s when the bloodbath starts.
Could the author really be the same sweet gal who joined her Blackpool-based sisters to chirrup I’m In The Mood For Dancing, Chemistry, Spirit Body and Soul – and lesser known offering, Dressed to Kill?
“Well, I’ve changed a bit since then,” she admits. “So has Blackpool.” Pause for quick stroll down memory lane and a mutual moan about roadworks and how it will all look lovely – once it’s finished. “The sea front will be fabulous.”
Coleen throws in a quick diatribe about druggies and drunks who used to trash her car outside her house near Stanley Park. Then there’s a quick plea for investment in the town’s entertainment scene, and a vote of confidence in Blackpool Council calling for more cash as a ‘special case’ when a delegation calls on Communities Secretary Eric Pickles on Tuesday. Hear, hear.
“Blackpool IS a special case,” Coleen asserts. “It was and could be again the best seaside resort in Britain, because it has everything. Clean it up and people will flock back. Why can’t each place take pride in what they are instead of being top of the country’s worst violent areas? Why...”
You can almost hear the cough of the publicist in the background as a reminder this is supposed to be all about THAT book – but we’re both in denial with Blackpool our common ground. Besides, here’s a woman who can hold forth on any subject, who has grown up and away from a sheltered (depending on who tells it) upbringing. She has struck out solo in a totally different direction, to become her own woman, a tough, no holds barred, talker.
Why else call the weekday lunchtime ITV1 series Loose Women? For the record, a now not-so-new agent helps, even if he did give her the most gruelling six months of her life via Dancing on Ice, the programme all three of her kids (her sons are 22 and 18, and Ceira’s nine) still hold to be her finest Mum on TV moment.
Sermon over, back to the book: when James Almond, ruthless controller of Channel 6, is murdered, suspicion falls on the five GirlTalk presenters as all have an axe to grind. Whodunnit? Icy Julia Hill, recovering from the car crash that almost killed her? Naughty diva Lesley Gold, who could hold a grudge for the Olympics? Sweet Karen King, who has finally learned to stand up for herself? Ambitious Cheryl, or weak Faye?
At this point I confess to never having read Envy, or been permitted a review copy of Denial, newly published by MacMillan, £7.99, so when Coleen tells me she’s modelled one character on herself, I daren’t ask which, and doubt she would tell me.
When you’ve grown up with the Nolan Sisters you know how to keep a secret. Well, until the books come out...
My money’s on the naughty diva on the basis of those fantasies which have proved such an eye opener to Coleen’s husband Ray Fensome.
Coleen relents and admits it’s Karen, of the yo-yo weight, and cheating ex-husband. Ah, revenge is a dish best served in print? No, but Coleen owns up to threatening loved ones with payback via Loose Women.
The family retaliate by having more dirty washing for mum to wash once home. “I say, don’t you know who I am? And they say, yeah, you’re our mum. I’ve never missed a parents’ night or sports day. I know what that feels like. Family comes first.”
The sisterly support group holds firm, with updates on health: Linda’s had the five-year cancer all-clear, Bernie, who should have won Pop Star to Opera Star (“I couldn’t believe the result”) is “doing brilliant too.” “Life is nice,” concludes Coleen. “But it can be scary too.”