PREVIEW: The Masked Singer star Martine McCutcheon unmasks why she's judging in Sheffield

Love Actually’s Martine McCutcheon has revealed the reason why she jumped at the chance to swan in to Sheffield to judge The Masked Singer Live Tour.

The star of stage and screen – who performed as Swan in the hit TV series – was given various city dates for the live show and opted to spend Good Friday in the city to be with family and friends.

And she's bringing along her own family, husband Jack and their seven-year-old son, Rafferty - the show's biggest fan.

In an exclusive big interview with Graham Walker - watch the full video chat here - Martine said: "I'm so excited. They asked me which day I'd like to do and I said Sheffield, because we've got some dear friends and family nearby.

"So it's going to be lovely to go and do the job, have fun, have a great night out, then also see them as well afterwards should be brilliant.”

BUY TICKETS: The Masked Singer Live is at Sheffield's Utilita Arena on Good Friday, April 15. Remaining tickets are available at www.utilitaarenasheffield.co.uk, www.ticketmaster.co.uk or at themaskedsingerliveuk.com.

The live show reunites her with fellow celebrity judge and life long friend Denise Van Outen. They first worked together 33 years ago as teenage actors on the London stage the Anthony Newley-directed production of Stop the World – I Want to Get Off.

She will also join host Joel Dommett and the tour's other resident judge JLS star Aston Merrygold.

The Masked Singer, she agrees, is a guilty pleasure that helps to bridge the generation gap. She explained that her little boy's love for the TV series was the real reason she got involved.

She said: "He was the whole reason I did the show. I was like, do I want to be claustrophobic? Do I want to really take this on. And then I just thought of him the whole time, that he was going to see mummy on The Masked Singer.

"I was in the sing off with the winner, Joss Stone, and she was just amazing. He was just like, wow. He absolutely loved it. He just could not believe mummy was on his favourite show."

Martine added: "I personally love it because so many different generations love it. You see kids there, you see people in their 80s, in their 30s and they all come together. There's nothing like music and fun to bring people together and I think more than ever we need that. I'm looking forward to it at as an amazing night out, as well as a job, it's a win win.

"I know those remaining tickets won't be available for long. So don't don't hang around.

She said: "The audience participation is a massive part of what causes the atmosphere."

"Joel is amazing as a host, and he will be going around to people in the audience asking them who they think should win, who they think will be the best person.

She will be judging, not singing, on Friday night and she says she'll miss performing - but not having to wear the masked costume.

Martine McCutcheon performed as Black Swan in The Masked Singer TV series

"There will be part of me that we know wants to be up there. But I'd be lying if I said that wearing the whole outfit is comfortable. I mean, you deserve a medal.

"My Black Swan costume, the head and neck, was a metal kind of sculpture. And it weighed a lot. We're talking like pounds and pounds.

"As much as it's singing and performing, it almost feels like a bit like a sport. You've almost got to be a bit of an athlete.

The live shows, like the TV series, are shrouded in secrecy - as to who the masked singers are - and she has no idea who will be performing in Sheffield.

She said: "On TV there were only about three people involved that know you are in the show. We all sign non disclaimers because the minute that comes out, the whole competition is over. I even spoke to the floor manager in my American accent.

"On the way to the show you are covered in like this Daft Punk outfit, with visors, all in black, with a T shirt or jumper saying 'don't speak to me'. It was funny because we pulled up at this hotel car park and there was a corporate event going on. It looked like we were doing a bank job. But it was brilliant. I felt like I was part of the MI5 or something."

The Masked Singer Live Tour plays at Utilita Arena Sheffield on Good Friday, April 15

Martine, aged 45, who has signed to a model agency, promoting fashion and skincare products. She has also been asked to write a book and she revealed she is making a new comedy film, playing an ex ballerina with comic icon John Cleese, who stars as a crazy chef.

But she admits she will always be best remembered for her role as Hugh Grant's love interest as tea-lady Natalie in Richard Curtis’ 2003 romantic comedy, Love Actually.

She admits she still finds it difficult to watch herself on screen though says the film, as in many households, remains a popular festive favourite with the rest of her family, including her own proud mum.

She said: " "It's a beautiful film, for me it encompasses everything that I believe in. If there was anything that I was going to be remembered for it would definitely be Love Actually. Its message of love is beautiful and powerful. And that's the reason why it has stood the test of time.

" I don't think there's going to be much out there that will compete with the legacy of Love Actually and I'm more than happy for that to be the case, because I just adore the movie. I adore the people I worked with. I have such fond memories. I felt honoured that Richard Curtis wrote the part for me. And it's a piece of me that I'm just so proud of."

Host Joel Dommett with the tour's resident judges JLS singer Aston Merrygold and stage star Denise Van Outen
The Masked Singer will be live on stage in Sheffield