FANS of cult classic Doctor Who may be surprised to learn that Mandip Gill, who plays Yaz, made her name as a soap star long before she battled the Daleks.
Her character, Phoebe mcQueen – who appeared between 2012 and 2015 – was the adopted daughter of The Dog in Pond barmaid Jacqui McQueen.
During her three-year spell on the show, the actress found herself written into some major storylines, including an on-and-off romance with Robbie Pascoe and a scandalous murder charge.
Reflecting on her past life in soapland, Mandip told the Two Shot Podcast: “I made amazing friends, I lived in Liverpool in my own flat. It was a really good job, having a laugh, because it was like being at university but we were getting paid for it, just having a really good time and they offered me a new contract and I was like, ‘I have to be brave now’”.
She added: “You’re working five or six days a week, an absolute machine, you go in there for 10 or 11 hours and it’s just constant. Even if it’s not your storyline you’re supporting someone else’s storyline and I was fortunate to be in it all the time”.
However, after a few years, the Leeds-born star took the plunge and said farewell to the show, with Phoebe falling prey to the Gloved Hand Killer – one of the biggest whodunits ever featured on Hollyoaks.
After the decision to leave, her character was wounded in an accidental shooting and fell into a coma that lasted for weeks – but that wasn’t what killed her.
Just as Phoebe started to recover, the Gloved Hand Killer gave her a lethal cocktail that forced her already weak body into cardiac arrest.
The untimely demise left the character’s family reeling and sent shockwaves through the community following the death of others – including Dylan Jenkins and Will Savage – at the hand of the serial killer.
But the Gloved Hand Killer would claim no more lives – after her final victim, she was unmasked (or ungloved?) as Hollyoaks local Lindsey Roscoe.
Mandip thinks fondly of her time on the soap, where she says she learned a lot, and will always appreciate the chance the producers gave her.
Again speaking to the Two Shot Podcast, the actress explained: “A lot of people turn their nose up at soaps, and in particular Hollyoaks, but you learn so much”.
She added: “You learn how to hit your marks, how to get to work on time, how to work with so many people because the cast is like 60 or 70 people of all different ages, all different backgrounds, it’s really loud and you’re there all day and it’s really fast”.