Former Emmerdale star Roxanne Pallett on playing Jo Sugden and life after soap

Long term fans of Emmerdale will doubtless remember that Roxanne Pallett played the role of Jo Sugden – formerly Jo Stiles before she married Andy Sugden – from 2005 until her exit from the soap in 2009.

During her time on the show, Roxanne – whose character’s full name was Josephine Madonna Stiles – was at the centre of some of the show’s most high profile plotlines, including a domestic abuse drama when Andy Sugden (Kelvin Fletcher) became violent with her.

And today, Yahoo report on their interview with Roxanne – who was recently the victim of a terrifying attack while on a train – who talked about her soap role and life afterwards.

Fist, when asked how she landed the role of Jo, Roxanne explained, “I went for the part of a Dingle and didn’t get it, but the producers were watching me in auditions and told me they were writing a new role that I was perfect for.

“So I got a role that didn’t exist. It was weird because I was living in Carlisle on the dole, driving my mum’s Nissan Micra around…

“I’d been auditioning for five years – just buying The Stage and turning up and people were looking at me thinking I was a mad daydreamer.

“It was like winning the lottery and not being able to tell anyone.

Of playing the role of the victim of domestic violence in Emmerdale, Roxanne said, “It was an honour, really. It felt like I’d been working towards that storyline about the abuse my whole life.

“To be nominated as Best Actor at the Soap Awards was just amazing. It really felt like I was playing a part that mattered.

“It was incredibly draining though. I was crying and being yelled at non-stop for 10 months.”

And of course, as the storyline petered out, Roxanne left the show, and she explained that leaving was hard to do.

She said, “I could have stayed there the rest of my life. I got a script every week and that’s what I need. But I knew that if I wanted to grow as an actor I had to leave.

“I felt I owed it to myself to leave.”

After leaving the show, Roxanne competed in Dancing on Ice, and of that, she remarked, “Dancing On Ice approached me as I was filming my final scene.

“After so much crying and screaming I thought it was a nice refreshing thing to do.”

However, she added that after DOI, work became hard to get. She said, “I didn’t work for six months. Weeks became months and it was horrible.

“I couldn’t go anywhere without people asking what I was up to. And I hated it. I felt worthless. It was horrible.

“I used to sit in my car outside Tescos dreading going in. I’d sit there, plucking up courage to go in.

“I was certain people were pulling me apart by asking why I wasn’t working. It was really difficult.

“I bought a house and did it up and tried to occupy myself. It was a horrible year in a lot of ways.

“I went from Emmerdale to Dancing on Ice at the start of the year to having no work and my best friend died. I was low.”

However, Roxanne then revealed that she soon bounced back as new opportunities presented themselves.

She said, “I felt like I had to start again. And I did. I started working on different projects. 2010 was interesting because it whet people’s appetites again.

“It felt like the clock was ticking in my head.

“I went on tour with The Vagina Monologues, I did Casualty and a film. It was a good year.

“Then earlier this year I was in Waterloo Road.”

And finally, as to what lies ahead for Roxanne, she said, “I can’t tell you! I don’t know!”

But she added, “I want to play a gritty role. I wish casting directors would take a risk on me.

“Just because I wear a posh frock to a premiere doesn’t mean I can’t get real.

“That’s what I want.”

Well good luck Roxanne!

Here’s a reminder of Roxanne playing Jo…

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.