ACCLAIMED actress and producer Elsie Kelly is retiring as Birkenhead Operatic Society Trust's resident director after 46 years.

The star - best known on TV as Johnny Vegas' mum Noreen in the hugely successful ITV series Benidorm - will step down when BOST's production of Hello Dolly ends at the Liverpool Empire this week.

Having directed her first show Oliver! with the group in 1974, Elsie has gone on to direct more than 90 shows and concerts with the society.

She has also directed professional pantomimes across the North West, working with entertainers including Les Dawson, Windsor Davis, Melvyn Hayes and Norman Vaughan.

Elsie describes Hello Dolly - which at the Liverpool Empire theatre from this Thursday to Saturday - as "a charming musical about a wonderful matchmaker and it’s a super show to go out on a high with."

She continued: "I've actually directed Hello Dolly three times before for BOST, the first time being only my second show as the company's director.

"The production starred Meg Johnson in the title role, who is now well known for playing Pearl Ladderbanks in ITV's Emmerdale."

No stranger to the world of television, Elsie came to prominence as Mrs Tardebigge in the original Crossroads, later appearing in Skins, The Famous Five and Ghosthunters.

Most recently, she played Noreen Maltby in all 10 series of hit comedy Benidorm.

Reflecting on her time in the show, Elsie said: "I really admire writer Derren Litten as he delivered exactly what he set out to do.

"Even now, people come up to me in the street to ask why the sitcom ended.

"It was a great show and I had a good cast around me."

The past decade has been particularly busy for Elsie, combining her acting contracts alongside her directing work for BOST.

Musicals under her leadership include Disney's Beauty and the Beast, The Full Monty and Sweeney Todd, showcasing the breadth of her musical theatre expertise.

Reflecting on her time with BOST, Elsie said: "I'm incredibly privileged to have worked with such a responsive company.

"I feel like we've grown together and I'm lucky to have produced such a high standard of shows with them."

Meryl Langford, BOST's Chairman, added: "Elsie’s contribution to BOST’s success is incalculable.

"We would like to thank her for her loyal and long-term service to the society and there is no doubt that she will be leaving an enormous legacy behind her."

Tickets for Hello, Dolly! are from the box office on 0844 871 3017.