SHE grew used to dealing with the wild animals of Walford.
Now former EastEnder Jessie Wallace has swapped the hardmen of Albert Square for a spot of real animal magic.
The actress, still known to millions as Kat Slater, joins the regular cast of Wild At Heart this weekend as Essex girl Amy Kriel.
But Jessie, 36, has another ambition, as yet unfulfilled.
There wasn’t room to include it in today’s MEN TV feature – the online version is here.
So here it is:
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play Nancy in Oliver,” she says.
“I’d love to do that. I think I’m getting a bit old now, actually,”
Having already played music hall queen Marie Lloyd, you might think Jessie would make a great Nancy.
Especially as a new stage revival of Oliver is being produced in London’s West End later this year.
Except, this time, the role of Nancy – plus some three alternating Olivers – is being chosen by yet another BBC1 talent show.
I’d Do Anything begins on screen in April, with auditions already held in cities across the country, including Manchester.
Which would appear to scupper Jessie’s ambition – at least in the immediate future.
Jessie told us she enjoyed working with co-stars Amanda Holden and Lucy-Jo Hudson.
She grew particularly close to Amanda, having known her before working on the South African-based ITV1 series.
Both actresses have experienced what it’s like to be at the centre of a tabloid feeding frenzy.
“We could talk about things that we’ve been through. She’s a great person to talk to. She gave me advice,” revealed Jessie.
“If there’s a problem, she just makes it all OK. She’s a really great girl.”
You can read about Jessie’s relationship with Ricky the warthog in today’s feature.
At the Wild At Heart press launch, she was asked which was more attractive – EastEnders’ hardmen or the warthog?
Without pausing for breath, Jessie replied: “Ricky, definitely.”
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