Ex-Hollyoaks star Gemma Atkinson returns to our TV screens when she guest stars in The Bill as Ria Crossley, a woman caught in a dangerous relationship with two criminal brothers…

Tell us a bit about the character you play in this episode?
“At the start of the episode the police follow Ria because they think she’s up to something. But it turns out she’s actually a victim and not a suspect. Her boyfriend, Shaun is in prison on drugs charges, but his brother, Mark is forcing her to pass on messages and smuggle things into the prison when she visits him.”

DS Max Carter discovers that Mark is pushing Ria to smuggle a mobile phone into the prison, and that her life may be in danger from her violent boyfriend?
“Shaun has been violent towards Ria in the past. But because he’s locked away, she thinks she’s safe. But when she visits him in prison, Shaun attacks her in the waiting room and the prison officers have to pull him off her.”

It all sounds a bit dangerous!
“Yes! But it was a really good role to get stuck into. There was a really good buzz on set with the whole cast and crew, now that they’re filming the new-look episodes for the later time slot. Also, the food on The Bill is amazing! We had a lot of lovely location dinners, so I sat in this camper van scoffing!”

You’ve also made your West End stage debut this year, in Calendar Girls, based on the hit film, which is running until the end of October…
“It’s been so great starring alongside people like June Brown, Anita Dobson, Jill Halfpenny and Jerry Hall. Honestly, I’ve been learning something new from these actresses everyday. So it’s been a dream come true!”

CLICK below to watch Gemma Atkinson in The Bill