When Diane Keen met our Eric

Diane Keen.
Diane Keen.
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Meeting Eric Morecambe was a memorable experience for TV and film actress Diane Keen.

It was in the early 1980s when Diane, fresh from sitcom success in The Cuckoo Waltz and Rings on Their Fingers, was asked to appear on Eric and Ernie’s ITV show.

“I had been working in New York and was extremely jet lagged,” said the 67-year-old star.

“Eric said in a very loud voice: ‘Oh look, it’s Tired Diane. Get her a load of coffee. Let’s hear all about New York.’

“He ended up giving me a detailed account of his recent heart bypass operation! It was a great honour to be asked to guest star on the show. It was one of the highlights of my career.”

And what a career it has been for Diane, who says her only remaining ambition is to “win an Oscar”.

Perhaps best known to modern TV audiences for her role as health centre manager Julia Parsons in daytime TV soap Doctors, Keen has been a telly favourite for almost 50 years in everything from Crossroads to Nescafe ads.

Now she is back on the stage in the hard-hitting The Vagina Monologues alongside Hollie-Jay Bowes (Hollyoaks) and Terri Dwyer (Loose Women) delivering a series of side-splitting odes to female sexuality.

“You can’t be a prude in this show because I have to do a monologue about the c-word” says Diane. “It’s thought-provoking, men love it too, and one of the best night’s entertainment you’ll ever have.”

The show is at the Grand Theatre, Lancaster, this Thursday (October 24) at 8pm. Tickets cost £18 (£17 concessions) and are available from 01524 64695.