A PLAY in Barbados and a cruise around the Mediterranean presenting her life story are just two of the exciting jobs lined up for Sue Holderness later this year.

But, unlike many in the industry, she is not one to take anything in her showbiz life for granted.

“I knock on wood every day and thank whoever is helping me along with this perfect life of mine, allowing me to be this contrary creature and do as I please,” she said.

Sue began her career with Manchester’s 69 Theatre Company in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and has since gone on to star in many West End productions, including the highly-acclaimed one-woman play Our Kid, based on Myra Hindley.

And it is her determination never to shy away from controversy that led Sue join the cast of The Vagina Monologues, which she had been previously been reluctant to do.

“The first time I was asked to do this play I said there is no way,” she recalled.

“I said it’s not my cup of tea and I’d rather die than sit on stage and fake 28 orgasms!

“But my husband said ‘Is this not perfect because it is completely out of your comfort zone?’ And I thought ‘you’re absolutely right.'

“I gave it a go and I love it. Now if I’m asked to do the play I’ll do it if I can play that part,” she said.

Due to the structure of the show, which follows three different women’s lives, lines are learned in solitude and the cast meet up only once for a group rehearsal before curtain-up.

And a dozen actresses at a time can be involved in one tour of the play, based on author Eve Ensler’s Vagina Interviews, conducted with women from all around the world.

For Blackburn’s show Sue will be joined by former Coronation Street actresses Sally Lindsay and Tina Gambe.

Sue said: “I have such fun doing this play. It’s as much as social thing for us as it is for the people who come to watch.

“But it has it has serious sides too. There’ll be one minute where you and the audience are in fits of hysterical laughter.

“Then, for example, the following scene is the one where a girl is raped in war torn Bosnia and everyone goes so quiet you can hear a pin drop.”

Sue added: “It’s certainly a very touching play and those who aren’t familiar with it and expect some kind of 'hen do' experience will be surprised by what they see.

“I wish more men would come, though. They’d love it. We gave the last lot of men a round of applause for being brave enough to join us.”

Despite being in Only Fools And Horses for more than 20 years, Sue says she actually gets bored with long runs and much prefers plays for short stints.

And she revealed how much she prefers the BBC spin-off, The Green Green Grass, to the original series.

“I enjoy this current run a million times more simply because I am in it so much more.

“I loved Only Fools and David Jason and the rest of the cast were so lovely with me,” she said.

“I remember I was asked to do one episode and I went along in 1984 when the show was already well established. I was so in awe of David especially, and also of being on the set. But they made me feel immediately part of the team.

“I went home having had a fantastic experience and feeling like I’d just had a day that I would never forget. Little did I know I would stay on the show until its last series.

“But I was always quite frustrated how little we saw of Marlene so now her and Boycie are in every episode of The Green Green Grass, it’s fantastic.”

More work means more lines to learn but that is seen as a big bonus for Sue, who admits they are a bit of an obsessions of hers.

“I go to bed and instead of counting sheep I read lines. If I didn’t have any to learn I think I’d be quite uncomfortable with that.

"I think the process helps keep my brain active, “ laughs Sue, who turns 60 this year.

“But I must admit one thing that is great with The Vagina Monologues is that all the lines are written on cards which you carry with you, so that the actresses can be interchanged at a moment's notice.

"You don’t use them, but it really does take the panic out of it when you’re looking at a live audience.”

  • The Vagina Monologues is coming to King George’s Hall on March 24. For tickets contact 0844 8471664.