Talking about Bad Girls: “Although it’s high camp it’s still gritty… let’s face it, the TV series I’ve done in the past have been very high glamour, very escapist, and I thought ‘Are they sure about this?’. But Virginia’s a reasonably fun character, a tough cookie. I usually play tough cookies of one sort or another. Obviously she’s a highly successful businesswoman in her own particular field and I’m used to playing those as well. She’s a high-class hooker that would service politicians and the aristocracy.
“It ‘s always strange coming into something well-established, but it’s happened to me before in my career. There’s that shock of being the new girl and desperately trying to remember everyone’s names. Trying to establish a rapport with your fellow actors and the crew – one wants to make life as easy as possible and the only way you can do that is by being very nice. I’ve settled in nicely now.
“As Virginia, I’m not playing a version of myself, which I usually am, especially in things like Howards Way and Triangle. Obviously in Dynasty it was different, one was very much playing a foil for Joan Collins, a rival, so one knew exactly what was expected. With this I’m not so sure, and I’m having to gently ease myself into it and rely on production to say when it’s too much or not enough.
“Working on Bad Girls is exactly like being back at boarding school, especially as one is incarcerated. I thought when I did Ab Fab that it reminded me of something and realised it was boarding school, and of course this is the same thing – all women. I’ve spent all my life in boarding school so I’m very familiar with that one-sex situation. I know the crew is largely made up of males, but I’m very comfortable. I would have hated to have gone to a mixed gender school, I wouldn’t have learnt to cope with it at all. This is a highly provocative remark but I suspect that one gets a better education in a single sex situation because you don’t have that distraction of boys. Boys to me were beyond the pale! I thought they were the pits! When they started to ask me out I was appalled. I said ‘Certainly not!’ I suppose it engenders an anti-male feeling but you like what you’re familiar with.”
This is not the first time Kate has found herself in a wheelchair: “Funnily enough, I did a play called Duet For One a couple of years ago where I used a wheelchair, although that was an electric one. In this, various members of the cast push me around, so I don’t have to manipulate it much.
“As soon as Bad Girls finishes I’m back with my British Actors’ Theatre Company, directing The Rape Of The Belt which is a modern comedy set in ancient Greece and opens in June. I’ve been casting my eye around the rest of the cast thinking who I might be able to have in my theatre company - it would be nice to be able to have some Bad Girls onboard!”
Kate O’Mara is a very familiar face to television viewers and theatre-goers. Her TV appearances include Dynasty, Howard’s Way, Dr Who and The Brothers. She works extensively in the theatre, having recently completed a year in the West End in An Ideal Husband, and an extensive national tour of Passport To Pimlico. She also played Gertrude Lawrence opposite Ian Lavender in the national tour of Noel And Gertie. In 1987 she co-founded and still runs the British Actors’ Theatre Company with Peter Woodward.