VICKY Binns admits that getting the chance to be part of one of the first shows at the new-look Octagon Theatre is something particularly special.

Vicky - known to TV viewers for her roles as Molly Dobbs in Coronation Street and Ollie Reynolds in Emmerdale - is currently starring in the comedy Home, I’m Darling.

“I used to come here when I was younger, we only lived round the corner (Vicky grew up in Tottington where her parents still live) and it’s always been a special place to me, somewhere I’ve always wanted to work.”

She has previously been part of shows at the ‘old’ Octagon and most recently in Beryl which was staged at Bolton Library while the theatre underwent a multi-million pound transformation.

“Coming back into the new building has been really odd,” she said. “It’s a bit like going back to your old house and discovering that someone’s gone in there and changed it all around.

“The new facilities are excellent and thankfully the auditorium is as brilliant as always. Plays really work here because the audience is so close. There are no bad seats and in the main shows are done ‘in the round’ so it feels really intimate.

“It means you can do show like Home, I’m Darling where the set is basically a front room and the audience feels as though they are sat in that room with the characters which is really special.”


HOMECOMING: Vicky Binns is delighted to be back at the Octagon

HOMECOMING: Vicky Binns is delighted to be back at the Octagon


Should the Octagon ever need an ambassador to promote the new theatre, Vicky would be ideal.

“What’s so great is that the Octagon produces its own work. Shows are made here and performed here and it’s not just a company travelling through.

“I’ve done big tours and they are more like a machine. They are invariably cast in London, you rehearse in London and then you go round the country spending five or six days in a venue. For a theatre to produce its own work is really precious.”

Home, I’m Darling centres around a couple who although in the modern world try to live out their lives as though it were the 1950s.

“The main thing is that it’s really entertaining. It is a comedy and it offers a feeling of hope,” said Vicky. “But it’s also really interesting as it gives the audience a lot to talk about afterwards.”

The choice of the play to be one of the first post lockdown shows was very much a deliberate decision by the Octagon.

“When Laura Wade wrote the play it was well before lockdown and at the time she was interested in all the TV shows springing up about people’s homes. There was also a documentary about people who lived in the modern world but chose to have a Fifties’ lifestyle.

“With the pandemic we have all come to spend far more time at home and perhaps think more about how we live our lives and so the play resonates with audiences even more.”

Vicky is relishing playing Fran, who loves the Fifties, her husband and her job but isn’t sure in which order.

“Come on, I get to wear and wig and a big skirt, what’s not to love?” she laughed. “There are some shows you can’t wait to get rid of the costume. I did Early Doors where I wore a knitted tank top every night - I left that at The Lowry! - but this is fabulous.

“It is a comedy but because it’s so well written we don’t need to play it for laughs, the laughs occur naturally.

“In some ways it also has a feel of Abigail’s Party to it where the audience can sense the undercurrent running through the cast’s lives.”

Vicky starred in a successful tour of Mike Leigh’s classic play set in the Seventies alongside Jodie Prenger.


Vicky Binns in Home, I’m Darling - Production photos taken at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Westborough, Scarborough on 09/07/2021

Vicky Binns in Home, I’m Darling - Production photos taken at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Westborough, Scarborough on 09/07/2021


“It is joyous to work on it as you can forget it’s a comedy and play the absolute reality of these people’s worlds.”

You also sense that there’s a joy for Vicky to simply be back on stage doing what she loves.

“I basically rode out the first lockdown but when the second came along I just wanted to do something,” said Vicky. “I’d done some bits of teaching drama in the past so I sort of upped that.”

Vicky worked in two primary schools in Manchester teaching drama.

“I loved it and the kids are so honest. One of them said ‘Miss Binns you look better in a mask’, so perhaps they are a bit too honest, but they were so sweet. They don’t care who you are or what you’ve done. They really helped me get through lockdown.”

While at Bury College Vicky knew that she wanted to act. “It was probably the only thing I was good at,” she jokes.

At 17 she was signed up for Emmerdale but chose to leave the show after four years as she wanted to try theatre work.

“It never occurred to me that another soap would come up but Corrie came along and offered me a three month contract and I ended up staying for five years. I still look back at that as though it was that a dream - it was a very good dream and hard to believe that it’s 11 years ago now.

“It will always be special to have been part of something like Coronation Street.”

But does she ever get irritated that she will probably always be referred to as a former Corrie star?

“That’s always going to happen, so what’s the point?” she said. “It’s what people are interested in and it means you can promote the current shows you are in. I was proud to be part of the show and still have lot of friends there. You’ve just got to roll with it.”

Hello, I’m Darling is at the Octagon, Bolton until Saturday, October 2. Details from