Harrogate singer to star on Michael McIntyre’s Big Show
Last updated Jan 26, 2024
Sarah Collins

Harrogate singer Sarah Collins will be the unexpected star of Michael McIntyre’s Big Show on primetime BBC One tomorrow (Saturday, January 27).

Funk and soul singer Sarah is already a viral sensation with her own YouTube channel and a nine-piece Motown band.

Tomorrow night she will be catapulted to a whole new level with her appearance in front of the nation.

Ms Collins said:

“My husband secretly nominated me, my son knew too and I had no idea. I just thought we were going on a trip to London because we love visiting there.

“Then the next thing I knew I was on the stage. It was just a massive surprise, I just sobbed.

“It was so well orchestrated from beginning to end. It was just so strange, you think you know when your partner is fibbing but I had no clue.”

Sarah even sent her daughter to school in the morning but her grandparents were secretly waiting for her out of view and brought her down to London on the train after them.

She said:

“When the whole wall fell down I saw my whole family looking back up at me.

“It was the most amazing experience ever it was really emotional. It is a dream come true, like a dream, I didn’t want to wake up from.

“One minute you’re just in a room and the next Michael McIntyre is walking towards you asking you to be the unexpected star of the show. It was a truly special moment and one to tell the grandkids.

“I just really had no clue I was so proud of my husband and then I saw my family and everyone’s eyes were full of tears it was a moment to treasure.”

The show will broadcast tomorrow on BBC One at 6.50pm. Sarah said she has watched the show before and that her “favourite bit was always the unexpected star, because it is all to do with singing”.

She added:

“I can’t wait to watch it but I’ll probably watch it from behind a cushion. My kids said it was good though and I think they would tell me the truth.

“I am proud of myself. I just had such heightened emotions but I just wanted to go with it and enjoy it I don’t think I had the time to be nervous.

“People won’t expect what they are going to see.”

Sarah began singing as a child by performing in musicals. Later she joined a rock band at 17 and moved to pop and began covering chart hits before discovering soul and funk.

A bump in the road came when her now husband Tom crashed into the back of her car. They later moved to Harrogate when she was 22.

She said she “loved the music scene” in Harrogate, but shortly after having her daughter in 2012 Sarah was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Nobody knew if a full recovery would be possible. As a form of music therapy, her parents gifted her their vinyl records she grew up listening to.

Sarah Collins and Keep the Faith

She began a YouTube channel in 2014 as part of the therapy which now has 45,000 subscribers. She said:

“I had a different motive for starting YouTube. I wasn’t doing it to get likes or subscribers, I was doing it as music therapy. I didn’t know if I would speak again or of life would ever be the same so when I sang, I was well again for those three minutes. Doing YouTube allows you to connect with people you never would have before.”

Celebrities such as Billy Ocean, Matt Lucas, Paul Heaton and Candi Staton all took to social media in support of her.

She says she still uses the hashtag ‘music therapy’ to help others with their journey and says people with depression and dementia have reached out to thank her.

When Sarah recovered she put together the Motown, soul and party band, Keep the Faith, which performed worldwide until her mum became ill four years ago.

She said.

“For me when you sing it has got to be from a happy place. Then you can share that happiness with the audience. The band were very understanding and got a deputy singer.”

She said her performance on the Big Show has prepared her for singing again:

“When you go through illness or rough patches it is very easy to think poor me, but moments like this show you it can be nice again. Music got me through, and it still does. Now I feel ready to sing again.”

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