Emmerdale actress takes to the slopes in Godber classic

Roxanne Pallett and Matthew Stathers in rehearsal for a new production of On the Piste. Picture: Amy Charles Media

Roxanne Pallett and Matthew Stathers in rehearsal for a new production of On the Piste. Picture: Amy Charles Media

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Asked what she’s up to next in her career Roxanne Pallett says: “Hang on, we haven’t done with On The Piste yet.”

She’s certainly focussed.

The night before we speak she was on the red carpet for the release of her latest movie, the third she will see released this year. While the number at the end of her latest movie – Wrong Turn 6 – might make you think “straight to DVD”, the truth is this is a big movie with a big budget being released by 20th Century Fox. It also had a premiere in London, with the prerequisite paparazzi snapping photographs so a national “newspaper” was able to assess what she was wearing the following day.

You might expect her to want to milk it, but Pallett is utterly focussed on the next project and the slightly less glamorous surroundings of a rehearsal room, preparing to open a new production at Theatre Royal Wakefield.

“It wasn’t that I was pursuing a career in Hollywood or anything, I haven’t thought about it. I’m just a jobbing actor. You wait for the call or the script. The truth is, as an actor you just want to be working. With my latest movie released this last week, I’ve been promoting that. You smile so much you develop a twitch and start to feel like a Miss World contestant.”

The Cumbrian-born actor has clearly rooted her feet to the ground. Her mum even accompanies her to the interview.

Pallett first came to national attention when she entered the village of Emmerdale in 2005 and had a major impact in the soap, playing the victim of Andy Sugden’s violence and winning awards for her portrayal of a story of domestic violence.

“It’s been five years since I left,” she says. “I was a baby when I started there. It’s been non-stop since I left the village, my friends all joke that as I’ve got older my roles have got younger.”

So how about those roles? Since leaving Emmerdale she has Danced on Ice, had roles in Hollywood movies, performed in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and guested on various television shows. So which medium does she prefer?

“I can’t answer that, It’s like asking the Osmonds to pick a favourite family member. Every single role feels like it’s actually a part of you. Challenges and rewards come all of them, but I suppose theatre is the thing that keeps you on your toes and really disciplines you. It gives you the most discipline, you can’t go again if you get it wrong.

“Having said that, I was on set 16 hours a day for films, so they both have their moments.”

The latest role is that of a holiday skiier in John Godber’s On the Piste. The play follows life on a ski slope in Chamonix, telling the stories of the ski novices on their first trip to the mountains to the ski instructors. The play premiered at Derby Playhouse in 1990 and was nominated for an Olivier for Comedy of the Year in 1993 and in 1994. The latest production is a co-production between the John Godber theatre company and Theatre Royal Wakefield.

“It’s an actor’s dream to play a Godber role, but to have him cast you and be directed by him is so valuable for an actor. I’m in the room with a theatre god.”

On The Piste, Theatre Royal Wakefield, Sept 10 to 20. 01924 211311, www.theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk Also touring to Cast, Doncaster, Hull Truck and Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

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