I know I’ve kept this bit of information under my hat and not mentioned it a thousand times just on this site alone but I really like cruises which means that the current cruise-based television programmes that are shown in the UK meet with my viewing approval. ITV run The Cruise which follows along with Princess ships and the crews on board mostly while Channel 5 run Cruising With Jane McDonald which follows Jane on a variety of ships. The two series feel different with the former coming across as a fly-on-the-wall documentary (with perhaps just a hint of scripted reality elements which isn’t so good) and the latter being largely about Jane’s reactions to ships and sights around the world.

Watching Cruising With Jane McDonald it’s hard not to smile at Jane’s boundless positivity but that does slightly take the edge off the show if it’s supposed to be a way to present different types of cruises to the general public. Everything is amazing, everything is wonderful, everybody is happy. I’ve been on enough cruises now to know that’s not true. Personally, I’d like to see more details of the rooms, facilities, and itineraries, and mostly I’d like to see some criticism of the ships and/or the ports in which the ships dock. The episode aired last night featured the MSC Meraviglia; a ship of that size with that huge number of passengers aboard and nothing but glowing praise seems unlikely. No problems with queues? No problems with taking ages to get anywhere? No problems with numbers of elevators? No problems with noise? No problems with musters when people can get on board at any stop in the Mediterranean? I find that hard to believe but none of it was mentioned and that’s a shame because if something sounds too good to be true then I’m going to ignore it as it comes across as propaganda. At least in that respect The Cruise is a better programme as passenger and room issues are covered in an honest manner.

Still, you can’t fault Jane herself. As I said, she’s a very positive person, she’s likeable, she’s engaged with the programme and clearly enjoying herself. There’s a good element of fun trying to guess which song she’s going to end up covering by the end of each programme and it’s become almost a trademark of hers to watch her well up with emotions whenever she’s struck by outstandingly beautiful or religious imagery or locations. All of which brings me finally to this very funny, very well done pastiche of Jane McDonald by actor Ross Adams. Top work.

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