Dawn French almost retired from acting earlier this year.

Dawn French

Dawn French

The 59-year-old actress was ready to pack in her career on screen when she had a sudden change of heart after she was approached about playing a passionate cook in the new TV series 'Delicious' and fell in love with the script.

Speaking to Digital Spy, she said: "I wasn't really very interested in coming back in front of the camera again. It kind of lost some of it's delights for me and I've been writing a lot in the last couple of years and I like being solitary and I like being inside my own head and not talking too much all day.

"So I didn't really want to do anything but Phillippa Giles, the producer, sent me the outline of this script that Dan Sefton has written and I was hoping that this would be another thing that I would say 'ah it's not that great' so then it's really easy to pass on it, but then I really liked it."

Dawn portrays Gina, who was formerly married to chef and entrepreneur Leo Vincent (played by Iain Glen), in the forthcoming Sky1 four-part drama.

The story, which captured Dawn's heart, is centred on Leo, who is now married to Sam (Emilia Fox) but has a secret he is keeping from both his current partner and ex-wife - one that will see the two women form unlikely allies.

Dawn said: "I think what I really liked is here was a guy who seemed to be able to write women very well and he was writing interesting aspects of women, it wasn't clichéd, it wasn't anything I had particularly seen before. It's lumpy and difficult and layered and interesting for that reason."

'Delicious' will hit television screens on Friday, December 30 at 9pm on Sky1.