IT’S a good job that the interview with Vicky Entwistle wasn’t over Zoom.

“She won’t be a minute, she’s just putting her dress on,” was the message I got at the time allotted for our phone call.

Vicky had just come off stage at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre where she is currently playing the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the theatre’s annual pantomime.

“It’s been brilliant to be back,” said a now fully-clothed Vicky. “I’ve been lucky as I managed to get back on tour for about three months after lockdown in a play, Dirty Dusting, and now I’ve got this with all the glitter and sparkle. I’m loving it.”

Vicky is probably still best known for playing Janice Battersby on Coronation Street, a role she enjoyed for 14 years before leaving the cobbles of Weatherfield in 2011. And she’s back in Blackpool by popular request.

“I played the role 10 years ago and the theatre asked if I could come back this Christmas” she said. “I’m playing the Wicked Queen a little differently this time round. For a start I’m 10 years older which possibly makes a difference. But last time she was quite severe; this time round she’s off the wall. I’ve made her more eccentric.

“She’s very materialistic and self absorbed. She thinks she’s the most beautiful woman in the world so it’s quite funny when the mirror tells her that she’s not!

“But I quite like the idea of playing against type. Of course I’ve got the crown and the evil cloak and my wand to do bad spells. But because she’s so vain and in love with herself, she’s a more rounded character. Also she thinks she’s hysterically funny. If I just came on shouting every five minutes it’s a bit dull.”

So is this more rounded vain villainess based on anyone in particular?

“Oh, she’s based on a few people,” laughed Vicky, “but I’m not going to say who.”

It’s often said that ‘the baddies’ in a panto are the most fun roles to play and Vicky admits she’s having a ball.

“Although kids boo, I don’t think they really hate her,” she said. “She’s quite funny even though she doesn’t meant o be. In her world she thinks she’s going to marry the handsome prince and then Snow White gets in the way and she loses it.”

Vicky is particularly conscious of her young audience.

“They are great. They all fall in love with Snow White and really get behind the story,” she said. “Hopefully they will get bitten by the bug and want to come back to the theatre again. I think it is very important that panto is around for that very reason; to introduce kids to the performing arts whether they want to do it or enjoy watching it, just to let them know it is there.”

Pantomime was one of the first shows that Vicky can remember seeing as a youngster growing up in Clayton-le-Moors.

“We used to go to the panto at Oswaldtwistle Town Hall,” she said. “I don’t think my dad would take us all the way to Manchester, Back then that felt like it was miles away.”

For this production Janice is reunited with comedian Steve Royle, star of Britain’s Got Talent, as Muddles.

“It’s lovely to work with Steve again,” she said, “but most of time when you take job you don’t really know anyone in the cast. When I left Corrie I said I wanted to work with as many people as I can and learn from as many different people as possible and I think I have done that.

“It can be daunting because going in to a new show you have to know what you are doing and make friends and bond very quickly. You have to trust each other have a good working relationship for a show to work well.”

That’s clearly not been a problem for Snow White, aided by the fact that Vicky’s husband Andy is stage manager for the show.

“We’re all just having a ball,” she said. “We get on fabulously - the milk’s in my room, the biscuits are in Dame’s room. We just run up and down helping ourselves like a family with a big fridge.”

This camaraderie was something Vicky really missed during lockdown when theatre were forced to close and she found herself not working for almost 18 months.

“I had a play cancelled, Andy’s work stopped. After a while it became a bit like The Shining in our house,” she laughed. “But we were lucky living where we do - in the Ribble Valley - as we could go out for walks and sitting the garden. I feel so sorry for people who didn’t have any outdoor space, lockdown must have been horrendous.”

After such a long break getting back on stage proved a bit of a challenge.

“I was a bit nervous,” said Vicky. “I wondered if I could do it any more. I was a bit self conscious. But after week in rehearsals I soon get back into it but it was daunting at first as I’d never had so much time off.”

After Snow White Vicky will return to Dirty Dusting, a comedy about three cleaning ladies who set up a sex chatline, which includes a date at King George’s Hall Blackburn on January 16.

“I just love doing theatre,” said Vicky, “it’s so exciting.”

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Blackpool Grand until January 2. Details from