Expect a love war between Kimblerley and Jo's characters in the new series of the C4 school drama

Former Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh joins C4 school drama Ackley Bridge in the second episode of the new series – and she reveals she loves playing “fiery” netball teacher Claire Butterworth.

Claire is the ex-wife of PE teacher Steve, played by Paul Nicholls, and Kimberley says that Claire is still close to Steve.

So, will Claire make a move on Steve, now that he’s split from his current wife Mandy (played by Jo Joyner), following her affair with Sadiq (Adil Ray)?

“She enjoys being a shoulder to cry on and she knows it bothers Mandy. She enjoys winding Mandy up because Mandy holds all the power when it comes to Steve. I think getting a rise out of her feels like an achievement to Claire,” says the 36-year-old star.

 

Jo Joyner as Mandy

Kimberley, whose sister Amy is in Emmerdale, adds that she had a great time filming the clashes between Claire and Mandy.

“Jo was a real pleasure to work with and she’s also brilliant. It was really fun playing the confrontation scenes out because you really get to see a different side of Mandy which was great. We had fun with it!”

She also enjoyed working with Paul Nicholls. “Filming with Paul Nicholls was great. He’s a brilliant actor and we both grew up acting as kids on the northern circuit. He was really encouraging and I really enjoyed working with him.”

As to her own schooldays, Kimberley jokes that she could always talk herself out of trouble!

“I was more distinction than detention at school but I was really more in the middle. I did what I had to do, tried to have fun while keeping the teachers happy. I was pretty good at talking my way out of trouble!”

Ackley Bridge begins on Tuesday 5th June at 8pm on C4.