Amanda Barrie signed up to 'Celebrity Big Brother' to take her mind off dying.

Amanda Barrie

Amanda Barrie

The former 'Coronation Street' actress - who was best known for playing Alma Sedgewick in the long-running soap on/off for 20 years - had no desire to do the reality TV show when she was first approached, but she decided to give it a go because she realised the money she'd earn from it would back her care home fees.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror newspaper, she said: "I had no intention of doing it [Celebrity Big Brother], but then I thought it could pay for my care home.

"It would be nice to have that independence ... What keeps me working? I think it's occupational therapy to stop me thinking about death, really."

But, although the cash lured her in, Amanda thought she'd gone "entirely mad" when she agreed to do the programme but she didn't want to miss out on the adventure.

She explained: "I vary between thinking, 'Have I gone entirely mad at my age?' to, 'Is this going to be fun?'. The thing is, when you get to 82 and someone asks you to do something, it would be foolish to say no.

"It's a new adventure for me. I mean, what else am I going to do? I'll just be sitting at home, so I thought I might as well have a go."

Amanda, 82, will now have to spend up to three weeks away from her wife Hilary Bonner and has admitted she felt like she was being shipped off to a care home when she packed up her two suitcases and headed to the studio ahead of the show launch.

She said: "I did have this moment when my partner, Hilary, put me in the car with two suitcases where I thought, 'Are you sure you're going to 'Big Brother' or has she sent you packing to a care home now?' I think 'Big Brother' will be good training for the care home, anyway. I may as well have a go at it now."