ASK Shobna Gulati the best thing about bringing classic comedy Dinnerladies to the stage, and she doesn’t hesitate to answer.

“Being back in my tabard!” she said excitedly.

“I love my tabard. Every girl needs one. You don’t need to worry about what you're having for your tea and whether your belly is going to stick out.

"I actually texted Victoria Wood (the show’s creator) the other day and said: ‘It’s strangely comforting to be back in my tabard’.”

Shobna, born-and-bred in Oldham, is starring in Victoria Wood's award-winning Dinnerladies, coming to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre from Monday to Saturday.

The show has been adapted for stage and includes some extra scenes never been seen before.

“I was a little concerned about how it would work before we started the show,” admitted Shobna. “But I met producer and director David Graham, who adapted the show, and he assured me that he’d worked with Victoria Wood before and that she had the final say in the script, so I was really happy about that. Victoria’s is the best comedy writing you can possibly do. It’s a joy to work with her. She's so funny and intelligent.”

Shobna is of course most famous for playing Dev’s wife Sunita Alahan in Coronation Street for six years.

“People still come up to me all the time and ask: ‘Where’s Dev?’ She laughed. “At the time they said: ‘Do you know what he’s been getting up to now?’ “It's lovely that Corrie fans still come up to me but I have to admit that some days it can be tough. I’m only human and there are days when you get a couple of big bills in the post and you’re not feeling particularly jolly, but before you go out you have to put on your happy face.”

Shobna is a single mother to 14-year-old Akshay, she has a degree in Arabic and Middle-Eastern politics, speaks six languages and is a vocal supporter of Asian women’s rights and various anti-racism campaigns.

She began her career as a high fashion model, working in Paris and modelling in couture shows in the late ’80s. She then moved onto a career as a dancer, having performed Indian dance since the age of seven. It was during a dance show that her comedy potential was spotted.

“I had been performing with a dance company for a long time by the early ’90s,” said Shobna. “After one performance in a comedy show that paid homage to Indian dance I was approached by an agent who told me I was the funniest thing in the show. Before that I didn’t know I could be funn. I thought I’d be a dancer for the rest of my career.”

Shortly afterwards Shobna gave birth to her son, and so the dance roles were sidelined for a while, and she began auditioning for comedy roles.

“I actually auditioned for a role on Coronation Street as a solicitor in Mike Baldwin’s life, but the director said I was too young for the character,” said Shobna.

“She went on to mention my name to Victoria Wood’s casting agent though and told her I was a ‘natural northerner’. That put me in really good stead and I got the role of Anita on Dinnerladies.”

Halfway through the run of Dinnerladies, Shobna and her fellow cast members are excited about bringing Dinnerladies home to the North West.

“None of us can wait to perform the show in Blackpool,” she said.

“It's a northern comedy and I hope it gets a good reception, so tell them all to get ready for a laugh.”

l See Shobna Gulati in Dinnerladies at Blackpool Grand Theatre from May 25 to 30. For tickets call 01253 290190 or book online at the address below.