Actor Samantha fancies a shot at Shakespeare

TERRIFIC PACIFIC – actor Daniel Koak with Samantha Womack as Nellie

TERRIFIC PACIFIC – actor Daniel Koak with Samantha Womack as Nellie

SAMANTHA WOMACK is pondering her next move as her starring role in South Pacific is about to come to an end.

Her final portrayal of Nellie Forbush in the stage musical will be in Woking on Saturday (July 21) as the tour finishes, so her options are open.

Despite a meeting with Simon Cowell, Samantha is not set to be a TV judge on Britain’s Got Talent – yet. She’d love to tackle a Shakespearean role or make an independent film, and she doesn’t rule out a return to EastEnders.

In fact she doesn’t rule out anything…except a second stint singing Britain’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.

“I’d never say never to anything in this business because I’m a jobbing actress,” she says when discussing a return to her role as the controversial baby snatcher Ronnie Branning in the Albert Square soap.

But Eurovision, it seems, is a different matter.

The singer/actress (then Samantha Janus) sang A Message To Your Heart back in 1991 when the contest was in Rome – and hated every minute of it.

“That doesn’t really count as a job!” she exclaims. “No, I don’t even consider that part of my career.

“I don’t think anyone enjoys it. Being in those environments when there’s lots of people and lots of press – it’s a nightmare, you’re just constantly being scrutinised – it’s a circus!

“Oh I love watching it – I just don’t want to be in it again.”

Samantha came joint 10th in the song contest with 47 points – a creditable performance compared with recent years
when the UK has traditionally come last as most nations refuse to vote for us.

“Of course it’s political,” adds Samantha. “Why wouldn’t it be? You can’t imagine why people would vote for us when we
keep invading different countries. It’s perfectly understandable.”

She has come a long way since those Eurovision days after appearing on TV in the comedy series Game On, ITV’s hard-hitting drama Liverpool One, and of course EastEnders.

“Nothing’s really quite the same as EastEnders in terms of people recognising you because you’re in people’s living rooms all week,” she says. “People feel they know you.

“I was recognised before but people were a bit more distant. I’d never avoid going anywhere or doing anything, it’s just part of the job. People are very nice, if you just say hello.”

Actually Britain’s Got Talent might outdo EastEnders for viewing figures and there were recent rumours that Samantha would be a judge on the TV talent show. But she’s says it isn’t likely to happen.

“That was never going to work in terms of dates for me,” she confirms. “The idea was that I’d stand in temporarily for Amanda Holden, but the dates didn’t work. I still wanted to fly out to America because I wanted to meet Simon Cowell and see his house. Who wouldn’t?

“I got to go to LA and meet him. He was absolutely charming and I had a lovely time.

“I don’t think it will happen in the future but who knows? I’d consider it very carefully.”

As for the future, she’s looking forward to her first decent break for five years while considering a couple of film scripts – but she does still have one unfulfilled ambition.

“I’ve never done Shakespeare and I’d be embarrassed to call myself an actor without having the guts to do it,” she says.

In the meantime she has a few more performances as South Pacific’s Nellie left to do and says she’ll miss the show and the cast.

“I love it, I’ll be very sad when it finishes. All jobs are different for different reasons but this is a really lovely company to work with, loads of really lovely people.

“And I get to sing Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair and I’m In Love With A Wonderful Guy – what could be better?”

South Pacific is on at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, until Saturday (July 21).

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