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TANYA'S TRANSFER; Footballers' Wives favourite bitch Zoe Lucker switches sides when she's jailed in the soccer soap and ends up behind bars in Bad Girls.

Byline: By THOMAS QUINN

THE scheming Lady Macbeth of Footballers' Wives, Tanya Turner is already the baddest of bad girls.

Now she's ready to prove it by swapping DolcA & Gabbana for denim.

Tanya is about to be banged up in Larkhall, the home to the telly jailbirds of Bad Girls.

And for actress Zoe Lucker, who plays the conniving Tanya, it's the perfect transfer deal.

But fans of Footballers' Wives shouldn't worry this is a loan deal, not a permanent switch for the mainplayerintheglossydrama.

Zoe, 29, says: ``It's a very exciting thing to happen and I can't wait to see how Tanya deals with it.

``It will mean swapping designer clothes for drab prison wear. And I'll certainly miss the glamour.

``But it's a great opportunity to develop Tanya and to work on another top-rated show.''

The unique transfer is easy, of course, because both shows are made by Shed Productions.

Zoe returns as fake-tanned schemer Tanya later this year in the third series of Footballers' Wives.

And she confirmed that Tanya is about to get the red card for a series of dastardly deeds.

She laughs: ``I can't tell you exactly why she goes to prison, but it is true that Tanya goes down.''

The evil blonde has already attempted one murder and plotted to cover up a near fatal assault she accidentally committed on the club chairman.

Add to that all the affairs and manipulation on a near-weekly basis, and you get the idea that Tanya is not the kind of girl most of us would like to have around.

But the fact that this year sees her get her come-uppance, and a spell in the nick, will stun the millions who tune in to follow her antics every week.

Zoe says: ``It is a TV first to move from one show to another like this and that is great for Tanya and great for me.

``We are breaking barriers here. And although it sounds weird, it isn't any more weird than opening up OK! magazine, like you could a few months ago, and see a Footballers' Wives spread of pictures as if it was all real and not just television.

``I think Bad Girls has become more glamorous recently since the arrival of Amanda Barrie andStephanie Beacham and it's conceptual like Footballers' Wives. So it is very exciting.''

In two years, Footballers' Wives has become one of the most popular shows on the box, laying bare the glamorous lives led by highly-paid soccer stars and the gorgeous women they wed.

Viewers have become hooked on the antics of Tanya and her he-man husband, Jason, Page Three model Chardonnay and the on-going saga of the baby she adopted with her star striker husband, Kyle.

Shakespeare it ain't, but it's compelling, with the show gaining that coveted water-cooler status where more people talk about it after every episode than ever watch it.

And if you think Tanya has done her worst, think again.

Zoe says: ``Tanya is certainly worse than ever before. In this new series, there will be more of everything. The sky's the limit for Tanya.

``There isn't anything you can't imagine her doing or getting awaywith. There's more affairs, more glamour and more sex. I won't spoil the surprises, but she gets involved in many tricks this time out.''

For Zoe, Tanya's downfall marks a high point in her acting career.

And, yet, she was on the verge of quitting acting altogether before she was offered the role in 2001.

Zoe was raised in Huddersfield, Yorkshire she has never lost her bluff accent where her parents were teachers before starting their own glass design business.

She was encouraged to go into acting by a school drama teacher, qualified for a Manchester drama school andsoonmoved to London to start her career.

But the actress found it hard to make an impression and often found herself out of work for weeks and months on end.

In 2001, she was working in an office to makeendsmeetand thinking of a permanent career change.

She says: ``I was leafletdropping at the time. I had beenworking for six or seven years before that as a jobbing actress in theatre and bits of telly, but I was in and out of work all the time.

``I really was on the verge of giving it all up. I was saying to myself: `I can't stand waking up feeling sad every morning. I've got to get myself a career'.

``I hated the thought of spending the rest of my life unfulfilled. My dad had just got me the forms to apply for a teacher training course. But acting was what I wanted to do, and then Tanya happened.''

Zoe has found happiness in her personal life, too.

She split from her husband of 11 months, estate agent Richard Forshaw, before taking the role of Tanya. Now she has a romance with children's TVpresenter Tony Craig.

After admitting to having a rocky patch earlier this year, she confirms they are very much together.

She says: ``Were both very happy. He's been supportive and we've worked things through.''

Now Zoe is cashing in on herfame by starring in her own fitness video -while donating 10 per cent of the profits to charity.

Zoe admits she is no fitness addict, but more than anyone, she can see the benefits of looking good.

She says: ``I'm going to be 30 next year and I realised I was going to have to sort myself out fitness-wise.

``People tell me that it all starts to go wrong when you reach 30, so you have to put more effort in.

Zoe will be glad of the workouts next month when she's in Thailand to film scenes for the opening episode of Footballers' Wives.

She laughs: ``There will be a few bikini shots, yes. We'll have to take full advantage of the hot weather. ``When I was first sent the script, I thought it had all the ingredients to be a very successful show.

``Some people thought we were making some sort of fly-on-the-wall documentary, but it's more Dallas than anything. Big characters, big cars, glam clothes, suspend your disbelief and switch off for an hour. It's a different world. People latch on to it in that wayand that's great.

``And it's been great filming. Every day on set is a pleasure.''

Footballers' Wives returns to ITV1 later this year.

Zoe's fitness video, Zoe Lucker The Little Black Dress, is out now.

CAPTION(S):

TRANSFER: Zoe, second left, with Footballers' Wives stars Cristian Solimeno, Susie Amy and Gary Lucy. Right, the cast of Bad Girls Zoe will soon be joining as Tanya
COPYRIGHT 2003 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 28, 2003
Words:1109
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