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Former Hollyoaks star Sarah Jane Buckley coming home to Flintshire for Christmas

CHRISTMAS at home surrounded by family sounded the perfect tonic for an actress who usually spends the holiday season doing panto.

However, despite landing the dual roles of Mrs Darling and the Magic Mermaid in Peter Pan at Rhyl’s Pavilion Theatre, Sarah Jane Buckley will still be expected to lend a helping hand at the family hotel and restaurant.

Former Hollyoaks star Sarah Jane explained how her plans for a more relaxing holiday season evaporated despite appearing just down the road at Rhyl.

Speaking from the grounds of the family-run Plas Hafod Hotel in Gwernymynydd, near Mold, she said: “I couldn’t believe it.

“This is the first Christmas I will have had at home in 10 years and they are making me work for my dinner!

“Still, it’s a family business and as we are fully booked for Christmas Day lunch I’ll have to do my bit.

“Panto is such a wonderful experience and a real chance to give kids a theatre experience. I enjoy Peter Pan and it’s great to tackle a dual role.

“I play Mrs Darling quite straight, but then play the Magical Mermaid as a real down-to-Earth Liverpool lass, heavy Scouse accent, the works.

“It’s such fun and a real hoot.”

She added: “Some people ridicule panto, but I see it as a great way to give children a real theatre experience, which is massively important.

“If just one child grows to love the theatre as a result of seeing a panto, then I feel we will have done our job.”

Sarah Jane still speaks fondly of her time playing Kathy Barnes in TV soap Hollyoaks.

“Hollyoaks was amazing and I am desperate for more TV work.

“It was only supposed to be for 18 months, but I ended up doing a three-year stint playing crazy Kathy.

“I love soaps, they are never boring. You can really develop a character too. However, I am amazed I still get recognised.”

Other smaller parts in Emmerdale and Bergerac and a guest appearance on Loose Women gave Sarah Jane the taste for more television, and she has ambitions of landing a presenting role in the future.

Sarah Jane has also performed in Over the Rainbow, The Eva Cassidy Story to critical acclaim.

The role demanded she sing 24 songs, not only in the style of Eva Cassidy, but some of the numbers came in the part of the story when singer was battling terminal illness.

Sarah Jane’s singing was recently required again, for the wedding of a manager at Plas Hafod, Alison Mackerel.

“It was fabulous,” she said. “I sang her down the aisle, despite my tears of happiness for her, and later at the wedding breakfast.

“I do enjoy coming home to the Plas Hafod and being around my family. However, I’m always waiting for the next call and the audition.”


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