Sarah Jane Buckley is a name that has been familiar to me since she first burst onto our television screens as Kathy Barnes in Hollyoaks back in 2005. Hollyoaks is one of those soaps that many deem to be their guilty pleasure. I’d say I’m the sort of viewer who feels guilty about not being able to watch it as often as I’d like and find it a pleasure to watch when I do get around to it! Kathy was always a favourite character of mine and I’m delighted that she is making a brief return to the show, even if it is under tragic circumstances.
Since August last year, Sarah Jane has been entertaining audiences up and down the country as Mrs Lyons in Blood Brothers. It’s a show I’ve seen many times and it continues to be a firm favourite of mine, I can honestly say that Sarah Jane is one of the best I’ve seen in the role of Mrs Lyons and I have my fingers crossed that she’ll return in the role when the tour kicks off again after the summer.
Having the opportunity to interview Sarah Jane was a real pleasure, so without further ado, here’s what she had to say about her recent performing experience on stage and in front of the camera.
Thank you so much for talking to Break A Leg, you’re making a brief return to the role of Kathy Barnes in Hollyoaks, what are you able to tell me about Kathy’s come-back?
I’m back for Amy’s funeral (Kathy’s daughter), she has been murdered and we don’t know who’s done it – not even I know who’s done it so I can’t tell you! Sadly I didn’t get to film with Ashley Slanina-Davies who plays Amy as the character had passed away by the time I got there for filming.
How did it feel to return to the set? Did it feel like you’d never been away?
Actually it did feel as if I’d never been away, a lot of the team are back – some left and have come back and some are still there, so a lot of the crew were the same. Tony Hirst who played my husband was also back, Zoe (Lister) who wrote the episode had been asked by the producers to write herself back in, and she’s also a friend of mine. So being in the episode with them felt quite familiar as we’d all been in it together all those years ago. I felt completely welcomed which was amazing, but it was quite a tough time because I was filming at the same time as appearing in Blood Brothers. My partner picked me up outside the theatre at 10:30pm and drove me up to Liverpool where I would then have three hours sleep and go into the studio, he would then pick me up outside the door and drive me to the venue for the matinee or evening performance of Blood Brothers. If it hadn’t have been for him I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I was so happy and excited to be back in Hollyoaks and to be able to do both jobs at the same time. I was so lucky.
What’s your dream job?
To be behind the bar of the Rovers Return in Coronation Street is my dream gig, it always has been. Or behind the bar in Emmerdale, either of those pubs will do! I’d go back to Hollyoaks full time at the drop of a hat, though, I love Hollyoaks.
Moving on to your recent stage work, you joined the cast of Blood Brothers last year – what has that experience been like and how familiar were you with the show before you joined the cast?
I was super-familiar because I’ve been a fan since 1988 when I was at Guildford Drama School, I went to see it and Kiki Dee was in it with Con O’Neill. I have always wanted to be in it and I feel lucky to have the chance to be on that stage hearing the music and to work with Lyn Paul who is an amazing Mrs Johnstone.
You’re playing the role of Mrs Lyons but you understudy the role of Mrs Johnstone and have played her, are you keen to move on to play her, eventually?
Absolutely, I’d love to take on that role – I love playing Mrs Lyons, it’s a great part and an acting part which is what I do but as I’m also a singer it’s a lovely opportunity to do both, really.
Do you have a favourite moment or highlight in the show or does that change from performance to performance?
I think it does change because we have such different audiences in for every performance and there are spine-tingling moments at every point. Some days it’s when we’re singing ‘Tell Me It’s Not True’ and you can feel the audience’s passion and emotion and sometimes it’s the scenes where I’m working with Tim Churchill and Mark Hutchinson who play my husband and son. There are moments there that are very tender and there are so many of those in the show, it’s such good drama.
I feel that I get something different from the show every time I watch it…
I do as a performer, too because that’s the joy of live theatre, you get the chance to have another go and to change it.
So, finally, what else is next for you?
I’m going to have a rest for a month, see my partner, my family and friends and then hopefully the autumn will bring the next tour of Blood Brothers (nothing is confirmed yet). I have felt so lucky to have been part of this Blood Brothers tour and to have been directed by Bill Kenwright for the gala performance in Liverpool last year.
Of course in this business you never know what’s going to come through the door, you can be unemployed on a Friday and working on a Monday.
I want to extend my thanks to Sarah Jane for taking time out to chat to me, I really hope she’ll be back as Mrs Lyons (and eventually, Mrs Johnstone) and I can’t wait for Hollyoaks at 6:30 pm tonight! Kathy Barnes is back! Sarah Jane also does panto every year so Break A Leg will let you know as soon as we have news on which one she will appear in this year.
You can keep up with all of Sarah Jane’s news here: Sarah Jane Buckley Website