Rae Hendrie plays Jess
It's not that Jess doesn't love Duncan - she really does - it's just
that commitment word she's having difficulty with.
While loved-up Duncan is planning for them to grow old together, Jess
is determined to put her career as Glenbogle's first girl ghillie first.
She is finally beginning to stand on her own two feet after returning
to the estate last year and she's going to have to continue to prove
her girl power on a daily basis if she's going to succeed in such a
traditionally male dominated world.
"Duncan has just fallen for her basically and who can blame him - she's
a beautiful person," laughs Rae, who returned to the show full-time
"He is taking their relationship a lot more seriously than Jess, maybe
because there are slim pickings up here and he thinks, 'Right - get
a ring on her finger before she can escape'.
"But Jess has got enough on her plate with proving herself in
her job, so she's just happy for it to potter along.
"She really likes Duncan but she's not looking for a big commitment.
She's just very focused on her work."
But not so busy she can't enter the karaoke competition down at The
Ghillie's Rest, marking Rae's Monarch singing debut.
While Rae modestly plays down her vocal talents - she performed in
classical concerts when she was younger - the rest of the cast have
been raving about her rendition of Candi Staton's dancefloor filler
Young Hearts Run Free.
"I was so nervous singing in front of the whole crew," says Selkirk-born
"I was really embarrassed and went very red in the face which will
work on screen because Jess is meant to be nervous too. So I wasn't
acting - that fear was genuine."
Rae is convinced the idea for the storyline came from the cast and
crew's real life karaoke nights at The Tipsy Laird pub in Kingussie
near where the series is filmed.
"I bet I was very drunk one night singing Hopelessly Devoted To You
from Grease and someone thought, 'Ha ha, we have a cunning idea for
"I'm fine for a bit of a sing-song after a few drinks, you know,
belting out Grease or Rod Stewart, but doing it on camera meant I was
sober, which was much more scary."
So, will Rae be doing a pop TV spin off?
"Oh yes, I could be the next Kylie Minogue or even Nick Berry," she
"Christmas number one here I come."
Alongside the singing and the gamekeeping, Jess also manages to squeeze
in a spot of matchmaking for her dad, Golly.
But initially the sombre ghillie isn't too chuffed with his daughter's
"I think his pride is hurt because it's hugely embarrassing for him
and, actually, I suppose she's a bit out of order doing it because he
is a grown man and is quite capable of handling his own affairs.
"But she realises he needs a push in the right direction and I
think also she feels guilty because Golly has been on his own a lot
recently while she's been up at the house with Duncan."
After a stint at the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre in between series,
Rae headed off for a well-deserved holiday in Thailand and Australia.
She says: "I managed to get recognised in the back of a minibus in
the middle of nowhere.
"This Aussie girl had somehow just seen the one episode of Monarch
I'd done about four years ago. Sometimes you forget just how popular
the show is.
"The holiday was amazing though although one day I got burnt to
a crisp. I thought I was going to pass away in the night my sunburn
was so awful. I got horrible blisters and I've still got scars.
"Sitting on the plane home I was so sunburnt I just looked like
a big red tomato - thank God no-one recognised me then."