Caring side of soap girl from Hebden Bridge

HALIFAX PROFILE'Paula Lane (centre) who plays 'Kylie Turner' in Coronation Street.
HALIFAX PROFILE'Paula Lane (centre) who plays 'Kylie Turner' in Coronation Street.
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GOOD GIRL: Television wild child Paula Lane loves being bad ....but only in front of the camera. She is a patron of a charity for the blind. Diane Crabtree reports.

Paula Lane is the first to admit she has a split personality. On one hand she is virtue itself and enjoys listening to classical music, walking her dog and helping others. Her alter-ego however is a lot different however. She lies, cheats, steals, blackmails, and causes havoc where ever she goes. And she’s not frightened of putting her battle-axe mother-in-law in her place either.

One might imagine it’s the perfect Paula we love and adore, but in fact it’s the opposite. We’ve taken her wild child character, Corrie’s Kylie Platt to our hearts and sit glued to our TV screens week after week wondering what on earth she is going to do next.

Kylie arrived in Weatherfield 12 months ago but has already made a huge impact on both viewers and producers alike. She’s TV’s new bad girl who flies by the seat of her pants and is as volatile, tough and devious as you can imagine.

She’s going to be around for some time to come because 25-year-old Paula has just signed a new 12-month contract, and her acting skills aren’t going unnoticed. This year she was up for numerous accolades at the National Television Awards and Soap Awards and she has been nominated in both the TV Choice and Inside Soap Awards and should find out this month if she is a winner in either.

Not bad for a teenager who was born and brought up in Hebden Bridge, went to the former Halifax Catholic High School, and almost ended up in nursing. She credits her mum, Anne Werritt, who still lives in Hebden Bridge, with Paula’s sister, Nicola, for going down the acting route. “My mum said I should follow my dreams and she encouraged me all the way. She’s as proud as punch that I’m in Corrie, but like most mums she worries a lot about me being in such a insecure industry.”

Paula, whose stage name is Lane, was into amateur dramatics and dancing and singing as a youngster and did a performing arts course at Huddersfield Tech where she met her boyfriend of seven years, Tom Shaw, who hails from Halifax and is now an actor. She moved to London after college and made her professional debut in Yorkshire TV’s Heartbeat in 2009. She has also appeared in The Royal and BBC drama Doctors.

At the moment she is renting an apartment in Manchester but says she and Tom are saving like mad to buy their own house in the city.

While they both love Manchester she says there is no place like home and loves Hebden Bridge with a passion, returning as often as filming allows. “I sometimes work from 7am till late and am shattered, but I love coming home and spending time with my family and walking my dog, Bonzai, who lives with my mum. I am a country girl at heart and love being out in the open air. Two of the big loves of my life are walking and running.”

Paula is planning to run the London Marathon next year for Henshaws Society For The Blind of which she has just become a patron. She is supporting Oscar’s Appeal, which is fronted by two-year-old Oscar Hughes who is blind and uses a white cane. The appeal is trying to raise awareness of blind children and raise funds for Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. Paula has got friendly with Oscar and says he is an amazing child.

Although she loves walking around the Hebden Bridge hills, Paula is often found climbing much bigger mountains in Wales. “I have a lot of family in North Wales and love a challenge. I’m hoping to do Snowdon and Crib Goch in the not too distant future. I’m the sort of girl who doesn’t believe you have to spend a lot of money to enjoy yourself. There is so much out there you can do for free.”

All this outdoor living and exercise keeps her fit and slim. She is only a size six, and says one of the first thing people comment on when they meet her in real life is how tiny she is.

She needs a lot of stamina to play Kylie, but says while Kylie’s bad-girl personality is very different to hers, she is having a ball playing her and has a real soft spot for her. “I think you have to like the character you play or it doesn’t work. I like Kylie and have a lot of sympathy for her as do Corrie fans. She’s vulnerable because of her tough upbringing and people want her to do well.”

Paula, an avid reader, did a lot of research into youngsters in care and says her colleagues have also given her lots of support. “I think it helps that Jack P Shepherd who plays my husband, David, is a Yorkshire lad and we get on great.”

She is also close to Michelle Keegan, who plays Tina, and Holly Quin-Ankrah who plays Cheryl, but says her best buddy by far is Sue Nicholls who plays Audrey Roberts. “She is one of the most talented people I have ever met,” says Paula who says there are lots more fireworks to come from Kylie in the next few months.

So does she think Kylie would approve of Paula? “I can’t see her listening to classical music like I do, so probably not. I’m a lot more sensitive than she is and wear my heart on my sleeve so she would probably run rings round me.”