FORMER Corrie and Emmerdale star Hayley Tamaddon is no doubt how much of an influence her hometown has had on her career.
The 39-year-old comes from Blackpool, a town with more of an entertainment scene than most places in the UK.
And it didn’t take her long to realise she wanted to be treading the boards of the seaside resort’s many theatres.
“I went to baby ballet at the age of two and that was it,” she laughs.
“I was in pantomimes at The Grand and Opera House as a kid and mum used to take me to see all of the musicals.”
That would lead to Hayley becoming an actress, giving her the chance to perform in those famous Blackpool venues as a professional.
“I played Janet in The Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Grand and it was amazing to be home.
“I also sang with Michael Ball in his concert at the Opera House and I received a standing ovation when I walked on. I have never seen or felt anything like it. I’m so proud to be from Blackpool and the town is so supportive of me.
“I left at 16 to go to college and have lived in so many parts of the country due to my career, but Blackpool will always be home.”
One of Hayley’s biggest career moments was when she won the fifth series of Dancing On Ice in 2010 with skating partner Daniel Whiston.
And that success can also be traced back to her days growing up in the Lancashire town.
“When I was 12, my dance school, Phil Winston’s, was based in a studio next to the ice rink at the Pleasure Beach,” she explained.
“I used to go to class early just so I could sit and watch all of the skaters from the Hot Ice Show practise for half an hour.
“That’s when I met Dan Whiston, who was 13 at the time.
“He joined my dance class and we became best friends.
“Twenty-two years later we were partnered on Dancing On Ice – we couldn’t believe our luck.”
Hayley doesn’t take to the ice so much these days, primarily because she can’t risk getting injured when it comes to her latest role as Roxie Hart in the touring production of Chicago, which comes to the Edinburgh Playhouse this week.
She stars alongside ex-EastEnder John Partridge as Billy Flynn and former X Factor winner Sam Bailey, who plays Mama Morton.
Based on real life events from the 1920s, the story sees nightclub singer Roxie shoot her lover and along with cell block rival, double-murderess Velma Kelly, they fight to keep themselves from death row with the help of smooth-talking lawyer, Billy Flynn.
Hayley sought out as much material on the show and character as she could before landing the role.
“Before I met the producers I watched absolutely everything I could,” she smiled.
“There’s a great documentary I found about the making of Chicago with Ruthie Henshall, and there’s also a great black and white film called Roxie Hart, where Roxie is portrayed in a much more slapstick style. I’ve actually tried to incorporate that into the character.
“And then of course there’s the film, which I love, but the stage show is very different and by far the best.
“I can’t wait to come back to Scotland with the show. Edinburgh is so gorgeous, as are the people. I’ve been to the festival numerous times and it’s always great.”
Hayley revealed she’s just signed on to the musical for another six months and although she would love to play Charity in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Sally Bowles in Cabaret, her plan is to do more television next – and she wouldn’t rule out a return to either of her previous soap roles.
She played Delilah Dingle on Emmerdale between 2005 and 2007 and then joined Coronation Street at the end of 2013, playing Andrea Becket for nearly two years.
“I would happily return – both shows are amazing and I feel blessed to have been in them.
“I guess Corrie holds a special place in my heart. My life completely changed for the better when I got that role – in all ways – and I’ve finally settled in Manchester as I fell in love with the city during my time on Corrie.
“But you never know in this industry. I’ll just be happy to work!”
Chicago, Edinburgh Playhouse, Until Saturday 18th June