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24 September 2014
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Monarch Of The Glen
Rae Hendrie plays Jess

Monarch Of The Glen returns for a sixth series

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 last year.

"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 Rae.

"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 the script'.

"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 adds, laughing.

"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 interference.

"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."

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