Tina O’Brien goes back to school

As the bell rings for a new year at Waterloo Road, Tina O’Brien tells us about playing Amanda Burton’s daughter, missing Coronation Street and life as a working mum…

At the end of the last series Bex comes home. What happens next?

“She decides to go back to school. Bex has been involved in some things that she’s definitely not proud of and now she wants to make something of her life. You find out what she has been doing as the series goes on – she’s been a very naughty girl!”

What is her relationship like with her mum?

“Bex wants to protect her mum and her mum feels she’s let Bex down. Karen wants to ask what she’s been doing, but she’s scared of finding out. She doesn’t want to push her into a corner and make her run.”

What was it like working with Amanda?

“I was in awe of her. She’s fantastic to work with – so warm and friendly – and I’ve learnt a lot from her. When we were doing family scenes together it felt very natural and I hope viewers can believe that we are a real family.”

Is Bex very different from Sarah in Coronation Street?

“She’s more savvy than Sarah and less moany, thank God! I like the fact that she is withdrawn and has a secret. Leaving Corrie was the hardest decision I ever made, but it was the right one. I’m really glad I’ve had the opportunity to do different things. I still watch the show occasionally and get sucked in instantly!”

As a 27-year-old was it tough playing someone who is 19?

“It was a leap! On the one hand it is flattering, but it’s also quite strange. One day on set Denise Welch didn’t recognise me and she knows me really well. I looked younger than some of the actual kids!”

What were your schooldays like?

“I went to an inner city school in Manchester so it was fairly similar, but this is a lot more fun! I remember I used to look forward to dinner break and watching the boys play football. I have happy memories of school, but I used to get in a lot of trouble for talking too much!”

Is it tough balancing your career with being mum to Scarlett?

“I love motherhood, but there’s constant guilt if you’re working long hours you feel like you’re not there, but then if you’re not working full-time you’re climbing the walls saying, ‘I’ll never get out of this house!’ I have a fantastic family around me though and Scarlett is a very happy little person. I love her to bits and when I finish work I give her a big hug and a kiss.”

What else is in your diary for 2011?

“I’m currently doing the Strictly tour with my dance partner Jared Murillo – he has become a great friend and we are like a brother and sister gone wrong! After that a film would be lovely or maybe a period drama. I am looking forward to more acting roles this year, so bring it on!”