Misako Koba has to be one of the unlikeliest TV stars you’ll ever meet.
Aside from a school play as a child, she had done absolutely no acting prior to landing a role in the ITV sci-fi hit The Tomorrow People in the 1970s.
She filmed three series, then, despite offers galore, quietly returned to family life in Blackpool and has kept a low profile since.
But Misako is coming out of retirement for one-day only at the weekend after being invited to appear at the annual Brit Sci Fi festival in Leicester along with stars from the Doctor Who and Blake’s 7.
“I’ve lived here 30 years now and even my next door neighbour doesn’t know I used to be on television,” she says.
“I’ve been happily raising my family for the last three decades, I haven’t even been to any cast reunions,” she explained.
“But I feel that after all this time I really should say thank you to the fans of the show.”
Misako emigrated to the UK in the 70s and met her actor husband, Colin Sherwood, in London.
They moved to Blackpool shortly afterwards to look after Colin’s mother.
One evening Misako went to see her husband, who has starred in A Family At War and Coronation Street – and will be well known to many in Blackpool for his shows at the Norbreck Castle hotel – in a play at the Oldham Coliseum.
“I met his agent and he told me Thames Television were looking for an oriental lady to star in a show and told me to audition,” she said.
“I laughed because I had never acted before, but he said why not give it a go.
“I went to London, was absolutely awful, but apparently they thought I was a nice person and said if my husband could teach me the script of the first couple of shows they’d hire me ... and they did.”
She appeared in it for three years but when the show ended, and despite being offered all sorts of roles – a part in Tenko, a pantomime, pop record, an advert selling Japanese cars – she decided to bow out of showbusiness and raise a family instead.
Now a mum of four, and still living happily with Colin, she admits she feels like “the luckiest person around”.
“There are thousands of actors who are so good and who really want to make it but never get an opportunity,” she said. “Then there’s someone like me who wasn’t even looking ... I feel so privileged and fortunate. It’s funny because every so often someone will recognise me and say hello, and I am always so surprised because the programme feels like such a long time ago.”
Misako heads to Leicester at the weekend for the Sci Fi convention to make a rare public appearance.
“I got this invitation out of the blue and decided ‘why not?’” she added. “It will be nice to see the cast and the fans because I’ve not been in touch with anyone for so long – my family always came first.”