Channel 5 TV series Cruising with Jane McDonald won a Bafta television award at a ceremony in London last night.
The show fronted by the former cruise ship singer was the surprise winner of the features category in the 2018 Bafta TV Awards.
The programme, which has featured McDonald sampling a range of different ocean and river cruises, beat off competition from Antiques Roadshow, No More Boys and Girls and The Secret Life of the Zoo.
The show has run for two series and featured itineraries ranging from the Baltics to Alaska, the Mekong and Mississippi.
McDonald rose to fame in the fly-on-the-wall documentary The Cruise on the BBC in 1998.
Clia UK and Ireland director Andy Harmer hailed the programme’s Bafta success, adding McDonald has helped “breakdown barriers”.
“What is great about the programme is it showcases lots of different cruises,” he said. “What makes that special is that it reveals different subjects that help with popularity.
“Jane [McDonald] helps breakdown barriers with cruise. She can say things that we [in the industry] would say in those situations. Her response is what a lot of people can relate to.
“The programme has also worked very closely with all cruise lines so it has not been dominated by one single sector.”
Princess Cruises appeared on the programme earlier this year when its Ruby Princess ship was filmed sailing along the Californian coast on a two-day trip to San Francisco.
On the programme’s Bafta win Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises’ vice-president UK and Europe, said: “I think it is amazing for the programme. We know that it is one of Channel 5’s most viewed shows and it has a very fanatical audience, so we were thrilled to hear the news.
“The show was already doing a great thing for the cruise industry [before last night’s win]. It has an incredible following of people who are cruise advocates.
“Cruising with Jane McDonald gets cruise trending on a Friday night which is not something we are used to seeing.”
Roberts said the California itinerary received “twice as many bookings” after it featured in the show compared to the year before.
“I think that the production team do a great job, but the reason why people find it so relatable is that Jane is so down to earth and very real,” he added.
“People can see her having an amazing experience and it is not unobtainable.”
Giles Hawke, chief executive of Cosmos and Avalon Waterways and deputy chairman of Clia UK & Ireland, believes that the programme will remain on British television screens for many years to come.
He said: “I do not see any reason why she cannot go back to any of the destinations and do different things.
“I do not see how the programme is going to run out of steam any time soon.
“[Cruising with Jane McDonald] is a travel programme. It is about people and the things that you can do in places, that won’t go stale.”
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