Hey Dorien, do you come here orphan..?

Lesley Joseph as Miss Hannigan with Annie and Sandy
Lesley Joseph as Miss Hannigan with Annie and Sandy
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From Birds Of A Feather’s 
Dorien Green, to her latest stage role of Miss Hannigan, actress Lesley Joseph has a record of playing unlikeable characters.

Yet while their lives may be world’s apart, there’s a shared sense of vulnerability between the women, according to Lesley.

“The audience do sort of love Miss Hannigan,” she said, of the character from musical Annie. “She’s a character we love to hate, and that’s a bit like Dorien; if you analyse everything she stands for, you wouldn’t like her.

“It’s a great character role for anybody and I’m looking forward to it.

“Dorien needs the girls in Birds more than they need her, and in a way that’s like Miss Hannigan, they have a cross over of vulnerabilities.

“You feel for Miss Hannigan having no life of her own, stuck with the horrible little girls in the orphanage.”

Lesley joins the touring cast of family favourite musical Annie next Friday night, to make regular appearances in the baddy’s role to cover while Craig Revel Horwood films the new series of Strictly Come Dancing, while Blackpool’s own Jodie Prenger will step in when it spends the Christmas season in Oxford.

Lesley pays tribute to Strictly’s Mr Nasty, having been to see him in the role, as well as the quality of the whole production.

“Craig is wonderful as Miss Hannigan, he doesn’t play it like Craig or camping it up like a pantomime dame, he plays it for real,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful new production; the set is like a jigsaw, inside and outside all comes together, the company, director and choreographer are all different and they have really freshened it up. The original time I played Miss Hannigan, there wasn’t so much choreography for the ensemble, this time it’s full on choreography and it’s beautiful to watch, with wonderful lighting too.”

Lesley will be combining her Saturday night stage performances with a day job, filming the third series of popular sitcom Birds Of A Feather, which was poached by ITV for a new series back in 2012.

“I don’t think there’s anything you can compare it with, that was on TV for 10 years [on BBC], off for 15 years and then came back as a success.”.

* Annie, Opera House, Manchester, until Saturday, September 26. Call 0844 871 3018 for tickets.