You wake up one morning to find a lump in your breast. You’ve had more men than hot dinners but have never had anyone say ‘I love you’. You spend every moment trying to please a man who you’ve grown tired of but are too afraid to leave. You look in the mirror and you don’t like the woman you’ve spent so long trying to become. That’s the naked truth.

Bringing together the most exuberant and well-know soap stars and TV role models of recent years – including Lisa Riley, Pauline Fleming, Joanne Farrell and Sarah White – The Naked Truth turns an unlikely group of women into a band of pole dancers who successfully battle their personal demons and, despite everything, form friendships that can withstand any obstacle.

Drawing on the experiences of real women in real situations, the hottest stars of soap team up to explore what every woman fears in themselves and realise the possibilities that a little bravery, a pole and a pair of high-heels can open up.

Poignant but hilariously funny from the writer of Stepping Out, this is a show about women, for women, which every man should see.

FemaleFirst managed to catch up with Lisa, 30, to ask what it’s like treading the boards and life after playing the legendary Mandy Dingle. So have the cast received a good response from the public so far Lisa? Fantastic yeah. At every venue it’s different and we realised what things worked. The audience listen in different places and then we can go home and start making our own notes about where the laughs are coming and stuff like that. That’s really exciting and one thing that I love about being on tour. Dave Simpson – who wrote the play has also written stuff for Emmerdale in the past as well hasn’t he?Yeah, he did and now he’s working with Kay Mellor, who wrote Fat Friends for me!What’s so special about this particular play for you?

Well I think it’s lovely how some of the money is going to charity – that’s fantastic. Breast cancer is really close to my heart because my mum had breast cancer. She’s now been six years in remission, so it’s a really positive story that we need to get out to women. I’m the patron of Breakthrough Breast Cancer – me and Gaby Roslin. I also do the Bury Cancer Unit in Bury where we live – I do a lot for them. Can you tell us more about your character Bev in the production?

Bev is a really man mad character. She never takes anything seriously – everything’s a joke and giddy with her. She sort of loves life and grabs everything by the balls – she really does! It’s a real comedy piece for Bev – but obviously I can’t give the end away. There’s a big twist for her.

Have you suffered any embarrassing moments in a performance recently?

Yeah – we sort of do it. There’s the quick change that we have to do when going from the normal scenes, into where we go into the clubbing scene. We’ve got 11 seconds, my character and Faith’s character to get ready and the other night I didn’t realise I hadn’t pulled my leggings up properly so I had my knickers showing at the back. You’re getting dressed in the dark, literally.

What do you think of the recent celeb trend of not wearing any underwear?

(Lisa Laughs) Well yeah – it depends on what you’re wearing. Especially if you have on a big clingy ball gown, you don’t want your panty line showing. But I always think a thong can sort of do at least, really! (Laughs Again)

Do you get to see many theatre productions yourself?

Yeah – I’m going to see the Sound of Music in London in two weeks time and I’m looking forward to that. I also did The Play What I Wrote, based on Morecambe and Wise – I did that for 16 weeks before Christmas so I’m going to see the boys. They’re in Worcester so I’m going to see them in that. It’ll be weird watching some else doing my part in that. I love going to the theatre.

Theatre is something I wanted to do because with all this reality TV that’s on telly, it something that I don’t want to be a part of. I want to do my craft.

You’d like to do more theatre then – do you have a particular part in mind?

I’d love to do a period play. Like that sort of “under the stairs” sort of production – playing the cook downstairs, I’d really like that.

Could you ever have imagined that you would be a pole dancer in a theatre production – what it difficult to learn?

It was great – I am covered in bruises totally. Yeah it’s been fantastic though cos we’ve learnt a new skill in like three and a half weeks, so in that sense it’s been wonderful. I will keep on going with it definitely.

I’m not doing some of the moves like the “Seated Lady”. Jo and Paula are doing nearly every single one of them but my character is the comedy in the show. Without giving the end away, we do loads at the finish, but throughout the whole show you think we’re absolutely horrific.

If your career were to suddenly finish tomorrow, would you be satisfied with your achievements?

No, there’s still a hell of a lot more that I want to do still…

Did anybody give you any significant advice for your role?

Well Lynda Baron who played my mum in Fat Friends, I was saying to her about it 16 months ago when we’d finished the series and we knew it was coming to an end. I was speaking to her and saying that I’d really love to do more theatre and stuff. Linda was like “well if you want to, you’ve got to put your heart and soul into it and you’ve got to go for your goals.”

Celebrity has taken on a whole new meaning now, would you agree?

Yes, I mean the way it is at the moment, my brother Liam is a celebrity isn’t he cos he’s my brother… (Laughs) It’s ridiculous and doesn’t take much any more. But you see I don’t class myself as a celebrity, I’m an actor.

I think there’s far, far too much reality TV on telly, but hopefully that will change soon rather than later. It does need more comedy and a lot more of the big dramas and stuff.

Once your involvement with the Naked Truth has finished, what is next for you? – I heard you were about to star in a new British comedy film?

Yeah, I’m filming that for a month in July. Then we go back on tour with the play from the end of August till the end of the year. I can say that it’s a British comedy and there are two famous American actors involved in it. So hopefully that will be a big success. My whole year is mapped out.

The door was left open for you to go back to Emmerdale…...

They always keep asking me to go back, but certainly not for this year. When I walk in the street, it’s lovely to know that my character’s still very popular and well loved. So I suppose I will always have that. Even when I was in Australia working and this man shouted to me “where’s your Dalmatian coat?” (Laughs) That was in Oz!

I miss the friends and I did love the character very much. But at the end of the day mentally, I wanted to do more creativity myself. So obviously that’s why I made the decision to leave – they didn’t want me to leave, when I said that I was going to. But I knew for myself that I had to – it was a very big decision. I still keep in touch with Dom who plays Paddy, Mark who plays Marlon and Adele who plays Kelly. Sheree, who’s left now, but played Tricia. We’re all still close. What is weird is that a lot of the people who are the soap now, I wouldn’t know because they’re all new people.

What storylines would you hope for if you did go back to soapland one day?

Well hopefully I would like to go back with a baby, because when I left three and a half years ago me and Paddy did have sex in my last episode. So it would be a “who’s the father story” and then it would turn out to be Paddy’s.

Have you ever been starstruck?

Yeah, I mean I’ve met people in my life, who I’ve loved since being a kid. Bette Midler, is my ultimate idol, if I met her I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

What about the size zero models debate then – what’s your view on that?

I always say as long as people are healthy and they know they are. If they’re doing the right sort of thing – and they’re happy with who they are, then that’s fantastic. It’s however comfortable you are in yourself.

Has your size ever been a drawback for you, when trying to get jobs in the acting world?

No cos you see I’m different. See there are absolutely millions of size eight, 30-year-old blondes. There’s only a few like me, so I’ve got a better chance of getting a role.

What’s your favourite bit in the Naked Truth?

Doing the re-writes is exciting. My favourite bit – in the play there’s a bit where Sarah is feeling very depressed because she can’t get this certain pole move. Bev does her interpretation of it which is like full comedy and it always goes down an absolute blast every night. I do enjoy doing that.

What’s it been like so far working with Pauline, Sarah and co?

It’s fantastic. The comradeship we have has been there since the first day of rehearsals, so it has been absolutely glorious. We’re really lucky because that’s one of the worst things that you dread as an actor on tour; you know you think – “oh god what if we don’t get on?” But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone is so lovely. When we did start the tutoring for our pole dancing – it was brilliant - how much we were all rooting for each other. That was the best thing.

What’s the most outrageous thing that you’ve ever witnessed at a showbiz party?

Oh God where to start. I remember seeing Jimmy Nail – we were on a stair case together at a party and he’s obviously had too much to drink. He fell down the stairs – I laughed and I shouldn’t have done! (Laughs)

What final message would you like to say to our readers who might be thinking about going to the show – what can they expect…

A great night out – great for going out with a group of your friends. A fun loving play that you will definitely leave afterwards with a smile on your face. Good for the soul.

The Naked Truth will be shown in venues throughout the UK from February to April 2007. For more information please visit

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