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Linda Regan

A talented actress who 40 years ago was Yellowcoat, April, in the memorable comedy show, Hi-de-Hi, Linda Regan, is an actress on TV, film, and on stage and is also a very successful author. Her life story is a roller coaster with many twists and turns but she is truly an empowering woman. She talks to Lynda Clark about the past, the present and the future…

Linda started work when she was only four years old. This might seem rather strange to some, but she grew up in a world of laughter and showbusiness. Her father worked at a holiday camp as a Punch & Judy entertainer and Linda’s job was to pass him the puppets. “It was quite a natural thing for me to do and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I always loved writing but I am dyslexic and never had any confidence in anything I wrote and I really wasn’t very good at school. I eventually got expelled at 16 and had to find a job pretty quickly. I wanted to be the warm-up person on television and by this time my father was a variety agent and he got me a job as a stand-up comic doing the rounds in the clubs. At 16 you can imagine what I was like! I had some dance training and formed a dance troupe called The Yummy Girls – it was all good fun. I then eventually went into rep and started my acting career and then on to the Royal Shakespeare Company.”

“I just adore what I do and because of the current situation sadly there is no theatre or TV Work so I am able to write a lot more.”

Linda Regan

Linda’s career had taken off and she was offered the part of playing April Wingate in Hi-di-Hi, which to this day still has a global following. The show was a huge success and Linda enjoyed every moment. “When the series finished I went straight into a Lynda la Plante drama, which was totally different but equally as enjoyable.” The list of Linda’s roles is impressive – she played Lady Macbeth, a role she loved and is one of her favourites to this day, she was in the film, Quadrophenia, and had parts in Holby City, Birds of a Feather and The Bill to name a few!

Then, the most horrendous incident occurred that simply changed Linda’s life. In 2004, she was abducted at knifepoint just a few miles from where she lived. Linda managed to escape by throwing herself out of the moving car but the scars this incident left were immense. The abductor was thankfully caught and prosecuted but not long after, Linda was diagnosed with cancer, which the doctors believed may have been exacerbated by the terrible and very serious abduction. “I was very, very ill and it was a miracle that I am still alive. My poor husband (she has been married to Brian Murphy for 25 years who is well known as playing the part of George Roper in George and Mildred) was incredible and helped me through my darkest hours. When I was convalescing, I wanted to use my brain as I was so used to learning lines, so I decided to write a novel. I had always written as it’s my passion but it was as I say I am rather dyslexic. When I finished it and read the book, I decided it was complete rubbish and threw it away! My husband decided to retrieve the book and without me knowing he entered it into The National Crime Writers competition and to my amazement I won! It was called Staged Death and that set me on the path to writing more fiction.”

From winning that competition Linda has gone from strength to strength and has written and published 10 novels with more than 150 thousand books sold. She writes gritty crime thrillers featuring DCI Paul Banham and DI Alison Grainger. Linda said, “The stories just come to me and I feel I know the characters really well. Sometimes if I am in a café I will wonder what Paul or Alison would have ordered – they become real-life people in my head. There is always a back story in each of my books which helps give a little light relief as they can be quite hard-hitting.” Linda writes most days and is currently planning and writing her 11th novel. “I just adore what I do and because of the current situation sadly there is no theatre or TV Work so I am able to write a lot more.”

Linda adores animals and especially her little Tibetan terrier, Friendy, who goes everywhere with her. “She is wonderful and looks after me as much as I look after her. I still do get rather anxious after what happened to me and if I am walking down the street and I don’t feel comfortable, she is always my side, watching out for me.”

With her impressive acting career, there are two roles that stand-out. “I loved playing Lady Macbeth and adored playing Marilyn Munroe. We went on tour with a play called The Legend written by David Butler – it was sensational and I will never forget the last night when the entire cast stood on stage and all bowed to me – it was a moment I will never forget.” 

I have a strong feeling that there will be a lot more moments and happy memories in store for Linda, I do hope so.

The Terror Within published by Headline and available on Amazon and all good book stores.