Jodie Prenger once used a prison cell as a dressing room.
The 43-year-old actress won the part of Nancy in 'Oliver!' through the Andrew Lloyd Webber talent search 'I'd Do Anything' in 2008 and now plays cruise ship singer Glenda Shuttleworth in 'Coronation Street' but explained that she "appreciates" her success on stage and screen because of the tougher times early on in her career.
She said: "When you've performed at Strangeways, anything above that is heaven! It was in my cabaret days and I performed for the wardens' working men's club. I had to get changed in a cell. At 'Corrie' they think I'm too excited when I go in my dressing room but they don’t know where I've been!
"I've had a lot of knockbacks and rejections. As a teen I was bullied off my musical theatre course and after 10 years of trying to make it on the club and cabaret circuit, I told my mum I was too old and I was going to give up. I used to be the support act for Ken Dodd, Frank Carson, and Joe Pasquale. At one club, this little kid at the front had a BB gun and started firing pellets at me and I'd have people get out their sandwiches in the middle of a ballad. These days, there’s a lot of instant fame. But when you’ve had experiences like that, it makes you appreciate what you’ve got."
The Blackpool-born star - who beat Oscar nominee Jessie Buckley on the BBC TV talent show and following her star turn in 'Oliver!' went on to play leading roles in shows such as 'Shirley Valentine', 'Tell Me On a Sunday' and 'A Taste of Honey' - added that when she joined the ITV soap in earlier this year, she stood in the corner of the set crying and compared the feeling to being a child in Disney World.
She told The Daily Mirror newspaper: "On my first day I stood in the corner crying. It sounds corny but it’s that pinnacle moment in anyone's career. The joy of being part of a knees-up in the Rovers for an actress is like going to Disney World when you’re a 10-year-old. It was so much fun to watch that episode back as it reminded me how hard I'd had to try not to laugh while filming!"