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I was working in a call centre trying to make ends meet then Peter Kay rang and said, do you fancy this job? TV'S CAR SHARE STAR ON HOW ROLE CHANGED HER LIFE; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: NIGEL PAULEY

COMEDY sensation Sian Gibson has got a secret or two that she really wants to Car Share with us.

The woman who starred alongside Peter Kay in the TV hit of 2015 has revealed she hid her acting talent from bosses and colleagues while working at a call centre.

And instead of admitting Peter Kay had been in touch and invited her to appear in the BBC1 series, Sian told managers she was quitting her office job because of problems getting child-care for her toddler daughter Gracie.

So imagine how stunned her old workmates were when she popped up on primetime TV pulling in audiences of nine million and turning her into TV's latest award-winning star.

Sian confessed: "If I had said I was leaving to go and write a comedy with Peter Kay about two people sat in a car they would think I had gone mad. People at work didn't know I was an actress or that I knew Peter.

"They just thought that I was a mum with a young kid trying to make ends meet. I liked it that way.

"If they knew I'd done some acting they would be forever saying I should try to get a part in Hollyoaks or something."

Ironically, the 39-year-old's chance of fame came after she had given up on acting, fed up with missing out on parts.

Sian was working at the Card One Banking call centre near her home in North Wales when her fortunes changed.

An email from pal Peter, 42, sent her into a spin and has totally changed her life. It contained the idea for Car Share and simply asked whether she would like to appear as his co-star - playing hapless, loveable Kayleigh, the blue-uniformed store worker who sits in the passenger seat alongside Peter's character John.

Peter is an old Salford University pal and is godparent to Sian's daughter. And she didn't' hesitate at taking up the offer. Sian quit her job and began working on the script for the unlikely sitcom, about workmates sharing a car ride to work at a supermarket.

Sian, whose hubby Ian works for British Gas, lives in a small village, three-yearold Gracie goes to the local nursery, while parents Gaynor and retired builder Ted live just five minutes away.

She had started working at the call centre as a temporary job but ended up staying four years. Sian revealed: "I sort of fell out of acting really. I definitely lost my confidence.

MADNESS

"I was really rubbish at my job, I didn't even try - it was a lovely place and people were lovely, it just wasn't for me sat in office all day. It was so boring.

"I think I only stayed so long because I liked the toasties from the garden centre next door."

Two years after leaving the call centre, Car Share became TV's biggest new comedy in years.

Thrilled Sian added: "It's all been a bit mental. I can't quite get my head around. It's just madness. I still can't quite believe it. I didn't expect Car Share to be as massive or successful as it was.

"It was all a bit of a shock because it happened overnight.

"I didn't even tell any of the mums on the school run Car Share was on and that I was in it. Funnily enough, people didn't recognise me as Kayleigh.

"I guess they didn't expect it, though they slowly they put two and two together.

"That's why I love where I live - no one really cares. We just lead a normal life."

Sian attended this month's National Television Awards for the first time as the show lifted the gong for best comedy.

She admitted: "It was such fun. I am a massive telly addict so I was totally starstruck. It was like a dream."

Despite her taste of fame in London's bright lights, she has no intention of moving to the capital. Sian said: "I am a Welsh girl from a little village. I don't think I could cope with life in London. Anyway it's only a couple of hours away by train."

However, Sian - in her first-ever tabloid interview - admitted that she nearly backed out of playing scatty Kayleigh after getting last-minute jitters.

"It sounds crazy but I suddenly thought Sheridan Smith or Suranne Jones could have done Kayleigh standing on their head," she explained. Nerves sort of got to me.

FUNNIER

"I wasn't nervous about working with Peter. It was the biggest thing I have ever done and I was nervous about letting him down. He told me not to be so daft - that Kayleigh was written with me in mind and that she is just a heightened, funnier version of me."

Now they are working on the second series, which will begin filming in May and see the couple reunited despite the apparent break-up of their car share ride to work at the end of the first series.

Viewers were hooked as the chemistry between the two grew until romance looked on the cards.

Sian teased: "I really cannot say too much, but I wouldn't rule out a bit of romance.

"Who knows if romance will happen ... will it ruin everything? "The problem is would it get boring if there is romance? We never set out with any romantic intentions. We saw it more of a growing friendship."

She also suggested that she would love to get Poldark hunk Aidan Turner - famous for his topless scything scene - to stand in for muscular trolley guy Young Ted.

Sian chuckled: "Not sure Aidan would be happy, because he wouldn't get any lines - he'd just stand there looking beautiful."

Since the success of Car Share, Sian has become one of the most in-demand comedy actresses in the UK.

She joked: "I now go to auditions and put on a posh accent so they think I was brilliant acting as Kayleigh, rather than just playing a larger-than-life version of myself."

Sian's latest role sees her co-starring with Catherine Tate in one-off comedy drama Do Not Disturb.

It is set in a boutique hotel and Sian, who plays the receptionist, said: "I cannot believe I'm appearing with Catherine. She is a legend.

"I was just starstruck again when I met her. And just to say I worked with her, if only in a few scenes, is such a big thing on my CV. I keep having to pinch myself."

nigel.pauley@trinitymirror.com

Do Not Disturb is on Gold tomorrow at 11.20pm

CAPTION(S):

CAR PAIR Comedian Peter and his old pal Sian were a TV hit Picture: BBC/MATT SQUIRE

CAR BLIMEY Thrilled Sian showing off her NTA comedy award
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 31, 2016
Words:1117
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