TV star Lesley just loves playing villain in Sheffield

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Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph is returning to two old roles, including the one she plays on stage in Sheffield next week.

Lesley stars in Annie at the Lyceum as orphanage matron Miss Hannigan just as the latest series of the much-loved sitcom is back on TV.

Lesley Joseph takes on the role of Miss Hannigan

Lesley Joseph takes on the role of Miss Hannigan

She said of her musical role: “I played her 17 years ago. She’s a great character, the sort of character you love to hate.

“The thing about the production is that it’s very much set in the Depression of 1933. It’s not saccharine at all.

“It’s a really, really good, modern, up-to-date production of the classic story. I’m loving it.”

Until recently, Lesley shared the role with Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood.

He performed during the week while she was working on Birds of a Feather and she played it when he was on Strictly. Now she has taken it on full time.

Lesley said it has been a pleasure to return to her best-known role when ITV decided to revive former BBC show Birds of a Feather two years ago after a 16-year gap.

In the new series Dorian is up to her old tricks, romping in the hearse at a funeral with new boyfriend Vince, played by Martin Kemp.

Lesley doesn’t believe Dorian’s as naughty as she makes out, though: “I’ve always said half the things that Dorian says she does, she doesn’t really do. She hasn’t had half as many men as she says she’s had.

“That makes her vulnerable. I think that’s really important, otherwise they become cardboard cut-outs. Then you can’t feel anything for them.”

Annie is at the Lyceum from Monday to Saturday. Box office: go online at www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call 0114 249 6000.