Amanda Barrie tells Soaplife about working on the BBC lifestyle documentary series The Real Marigold Hotel – and about her dreams of returning to Corrie…
You’re in the second series of The Real Marigold Hotel, Amanda… What’s it about?
“As in the first series, a group of well-known people of, ahem, a certain age go to India for a month to see if they could retire there. It was a big commitment. But having loved the first series, I jumped at the chance.”
Do you think you could retire there?
“Not really. The people were lovely – so incredibly happy, smiley, friendly and welcoming. The state of Kerala, in southern India, where we stayed, is stunning, too. But I couldn’t stand the heat and humidity. I got quite dehydrated and I felt like a wrung-out dishcloth! I never get ill at home, but I did feel a bit unwell there at times.”
Did you find it hard going?
“Sometimes… But I come from a generation that lived through War World Two and we’re tough. I feel this quite strongly. We’re a resilient lot, who were brought up sitting in bomb shelters, carrying gas masks. I didn’t even see a sweet until I was in my teens!”
Did you get to wear a sari in India?
“I did, but I must confess I hated it. It may have been beautiful to look at, but I felt like I was being swaddled as about 15 lovely Indian ladies stapled me into it. It felt very uncomfortable and I could barely walk!”
What did you miss about being away?
“Apart from my family and my dog, I have to say I missed TV. Coming in after an evening out and not having a telly to switch on was very strange. I particularly missed watching sport, which I love. I’m a lifelong Manchester City supporter. Thank goodness for the radio! It was a real life-saver for me. I didn’t miss British food, though, because we had an absolutely wonderful chef.”
Do you still watch Corrie when you’re at home?
I always watch it! Best friends like Helen Worth [Gail Rodwell] and Sue Nicholls [Audrey Roberts] are still in it, of course. I have no regrets about leaving, but I still have dream after dream where I’m back in it!
The Real Marigold Hotel, BBC1