Globe columnist Peter Grant meets Wirral-based star Pauline Fleming who is looking ahead to a stunning new Pinter play at Birkenhead Priory.

BROOKSIDE and Coronation Street favourite Pauline Fleming loves a challenge.

It's what made her confront Shakespeare in her youth and become an actress.

And now she takes on one of the most complex of modern dramas - Ashes to Ashes by Harold Pinter.

For the past two years Pauline, who lives in Oxton, has been part of the Bill Kenwright show Cilla - a critical and box office success.

Most recently she has been seen at the Liverpool Playhouse in a two hander called Vincent River and has been in a hit TV series Years and Years.

Pauline will be appear with acclaimed actor Neil MacDonald in Ashes to Ashes. 

Neil played her husband in the stage show Cilla.

So how did Ashes to Ashes come about?

She tells the Globe: "I was awarded Arts Council Funding to deliver a hard-hitting piece of theatre.

"I found this Pinter piece years ago and was intimidated by it hence again I wanted to rise to the challenge.

"Sometimes theatre is so provocative that you just have to accept it, don't question it too much and try your best to do the language justice.

"It was originally planned for Flaybrick Cemetery, but due to health and safety reasons it couldn't go on there."

Pauline praises Eileen Wilshaw of Wirral Council who loved the idea and she suggested The Priory.

The rest is history.

"It will be my first time here and we hope to do something next year but maybe it will be a comedy."

And helping bring Pinter to the Priory is fellow TV and stage star Andrew Lancel of The Bill, Coronation Street and Cilla fame - where he played Brian Epstein.

Pauline adds: "Andrew and I share the same love for Pinter and having worked with him on the Cilla tour we became good friends and I couldn't wish for a more intuitive, intelligent witty director."

Once the Pinter play is over Pauline is going back to the Royal Court where she last performed five years ago.

"I can't wait.

"I will be in a new production written by the writer Gerry Linford called Murder Mystery In Menlove Avenue.

"The hilarious Paul Duckworth is playing my husband."

Born in Liverpool, Pauline is now very settled in Oxton.

"I moved to Wirral because I was down-sizing.

"My daughter Cornelia had flown the nest and I like dog walk. So I moved and never looked back.

"I love the 'country feel' living in Wirral.

"Everything is only ten minutes away."

Ashes to Ashes is at Birkenhead Priory from July 18-20.

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