St Neots in Cambridgeshire has its fair share of celebrities, but none are as well known or glamorous as actress Rula Lenska.
The English-Polish actress is best known for her role as Claudia Colby in Coronation Street.
In real life, Rula is from a more southern location: the small village of Diddington near St Neots.
Her early life provides an interesting insight into the Cambridgeshire area, as she was born in September 1947 in a Polish refugee camp, which has previously been a US Army Evacuation Hospital.
Her family are reportedly members of the Polish nobility, and once owned a castle.
But when Rula got into acting she decided to discard her title as a Polish countess, saying “In Britain it doesn’t count, if you’ll excuse the pun.”
She has appeared in a huge number of popular television series – including To the Manor Born, Casualty, Doctor Who, and EastEnders, as well as various films.
Rula’s role on Corrie – as a glamorous friend of Audrey Roberts since 2009 – was so popular that the producers gave her an “open door” when she left the show to join the Calendar Girls theatre tour in 2011.
She was able to reprise her role in Weatherfield in 2018 before leaving again in April of this year.
In an interview last year, the star revealed how she bonded with co-star Bill Roache (who plays Claudia’s love interest Ken Barlow).
Speaking at the Sky Women In Film and TV Awards, she said: “We have a lot of similar beliefs, we are both quite spiritual, about nature, about health, about attitudes to life, about crystals.”
Rula has been married twice, firstly to actor Brian Deacon (1977-87) with whom she has a daughter, Lara, and secondly to actor Dennis Waterman (1987-98).
She was living with fellow actress Maureen Lipman in a two-bedroom apartment in Salford whilst filming on Corrie last year.
Maureen joyfully described their time as flatmates in the Mail Online .
She said: “It’s not a bad way for a couple of seasoned women of a certain age to spend their working lives, in unexpected, warm, caring and delightfully entente cordiale.”