FROM rookie WPC to Sergeant, June Ackland had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at her in the long-running ITV cop drama turned soap The Bill.
“It was great fun for the first 10 years,” smiles Trudie Goodwin, who spent 24 years pounding the Sun Hill beat after a one-off pilot episode in 1984 led to a six month contract and then... well, as they say, the rest as they say is history.
The actress recalls, “At the start it was a small, close-knit unit, it wasn’t a large cast and for many of us it was our first telly having come from theatre.
“In the early days they left us alone to get on with it, really. That was great. Towards the end it had become more of a soap, which I think was a mistake.
“That was part of the reason I decided to leave. It was getting a bit ridiculous. Suddenly I had a son I knew nothing about and things like that.
“They tried to bring it back to what it had been at the start but it was too late. I’m glad I left before the end.”
A mother of two, Goodwin, who stars in All My Sons at The King’s next week, has fond memories of her time on the ground-breaking series nonetheless, having managed to take out time to have a family - daughters Jessica and Elly, the latter better know to a generation as synth-pop star La Roux - while remaining on the set.
It’s a maternal role too that brings her to the Leven Street theatre next week.
Arthur Miller’s 20th century classic All My Sons is a devastating look at family, war and grief.
Set just after the Second World War, in Joe and Kate Keller’s backyard, the thriller finds the pair trying to keep alive the memory of their son Larry, missing in action, by planting of a tree in his honour.
But Larry’s disappearance is not the only part of the family’s past that they can’t put behind them.
Following a stormy night when Larry’s tree is blown down, Joe and Kate’s lives are threatened by a series of events that could destroy the very foundations of their existence.
Goodwin, also known these days as Emmerdale’s Georgia Sharma, plays Kate Keller, a clever, wily woman not afraid to wield her love as a weapon to justify her need for control.
It’s a strong female role in a play that still speaks to audiences today, believes the actress.
“It’s a classic but it still resonates and I amazed by the number of young people who come to see it and go away discussing it... it has such great twist at the end,” she teases.
Based in the Capital during rehearsals for the piece, the 63-year-old reveals that her one and only previous visit to the city was when she was just 17.
“I came to the Fringe with a youth theatre. It was review type show, though, not a play, and I have never been back since, not even to visit, so it has been nice to be able to explore.”
A keen bird-watcher, Goodwin has even had the opportunity to engage in her hobby.
“We’ve have a four-day break and yesterday I took a boat trip out to the Bass Rock [home to a large colony of gannets]. It was a lovely calm day, and I’ve visited Holyrood Palace and I have views of Arthur’s Seat from my room.”
Despite her delight at being back on stage, however, it hasn’t been the most comfortable of experiences for the star - the day before going into rehearsal she cracked a rib.
“I am enjoying it but I’d be enjoying it more had I not cracked a rib.
“That’s made it a bit difficult on stage as I have to project and that can be difficult, but on the whole I’m all right while I’m talking, as long as no one makes me laugh...” she laughs.
All My Sons, King’s Theatre, Leven Street, Tuesday-Saturday, 7.30pm (matinees 2.30pm), £14-£29.50, 0131-529 6000