Ex-Corrie star has no fears about baring all

MANY actresses would be wary of baring all on stage – even for a hit show like Calendar Girls The Musical, but there are no such fears for Denise Welch.

The former Coronation Street and Waterloo Road star laughs and says: “I’m not nervous about that. I have lots of strategically placed cakes and buns

“Anyway, it’s the least of our worries. We’re all of a certain age and too long in the tooth to care. The production’s not for titillation, it’s for comedy.”

She’ll be getting her kit off as Celia in the latest version of the show alongside television presenter Fern Britton as Marie, Lorraine Bruce as Cora, Anna-Jane Casey as Annie, Sara Crowe as Ruth, Hi-De-Hi’s Ruth Madoc as Jessie and Rebecca Storm as Chris.

STEPPING OUT – From left, Karen Dunbar, Anna Jane Casey, Ruth Madoc, Fern Britton, Rebecca Storm, Denise Welch, Sara Crowe. Picture by John Swannell

Denise says she has no qualms about her curves these days. After a public battle with drinking, she admits that eating replaced her alcohol addiction and she piled on the pounds. But after a weight-loss plan involving some cognitive behavioural therapy she shed two stone and has kept the weight off for five years. She even posted pictures of her bikini-clad self on Instagram recently.

“When I do those photos, I’m basically empowering women,” she explains. “I’m 60 and not bad for an old bird, and you can do that too.

Denise, who won the ninth series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2012, says: “Sometimes I feel every year of my 60 years, and other days I don’t at all. I have a very active, busy life.

“I’ve got a young husband (Lincoln Townley is 15 years her junior) and I’m very lucky to be an in-demand actress, presenter and author.

“A lot of people say they’re invisible at 60 and can’t get a job. I’m lucky that I have several.”

Written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, Calendar Girls The Musical is inspired by the true story of a group of ladies from Rylstone & District WI, who decide to appear nude for a calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands, and have to date raised almost £5 million for Bloodwise.

This musical comedy shows life in their Yorkshire village, how it happened, the effect on husbands, sons and daughters, and how a group of ordinary ladies achieved something extraordinary. Bloodwise, the UK’s specialist blood cancer charity, will continue to receive funds from this production.

Calendar Girls The Musical will be at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking from Tuesday 26 March until Saturday 30 March.

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