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Living: Lesley plans her funeral!; What do you want YOUR funeral to be like? That's the question Lesley Joseph is asking all and sundry.

DEATH has been playing on Lesley Joseph's mind lately. The Birds of a Feather star has been planning her own funeral - and thinking about killing off one of her best friends.

Not that she's about to die or wants harm to befall anyone else.

Instead she's been taking part in a bizarre new TV show titled It's Your Funeral.

She'd also like to return as man-eater Dorien Green - but only if one of the cast could die in a dramatic fashion.

First, her funeral.

The Channel 5 show, due to be screened in January, asks celebrities what send-off they would like, from the ceremony and music to the flowers and mourners.

Lesley, 53, took part in the pilot, which worked out so well she will return for the 13-part series, along with the likes of Germaine Greer, Brian Blessed and Gordon Ramsay.

Lesley took along a china shoe her grandmother brought from Russia as a sentimental object with which she would like to be buried.

'It felt very strange to be asked to take part. But it sounded interesting,' she says. 'It's really a chat show. More This Is Your Death than This Is Your Life, if you like.

'Death is such a taboo subject but it's going to happen to all of us. It's like making a will - you don't want to, but it's something we should all do because you never know.

'Having said that, as soon as I had done the show, I wanted to forget about my death and not dwell upon it.'

Instead, Lesley has been thinking about someone else's death - even if it's only a fictional passing.

Birds of a Feather finished two years ago after 102 episodes but we may not have seen the last of it.

'I would love to bring it back, for a final time, in a similar way to One Foot In The Grave is returning,' says Lesley. 'They are killing off Victor Meldrew and it would be great if one of the Birds cast died.

Dramatic

'Maybe not Dorien, I'd like to see Sharon or Tracey die. It would be so dramatic and give the show some real guts!

'It would be nice to catch up with Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson. Birds of a Feather was such a well-loved show, and I'm very proud of it.

'It's always being repeated and, although I don't get any extra fees, I don't mind at all. They can show it for as long as they like and I would never say 'Don't mention Dorien' to people who want to talk about it.'

Lesley is also gearing herself up to say goodbye to Annie, the stage musical which has been part of her life for the past two years.

She plays boozy orphanage boss Miss Hannigan in the show she is bringing back to Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre for four weeks from tomorrow.

'I love playing her because I can be as nasty as I like,' she beams. 'I've never got bored of the part. We are finishing for good in December, which will be strange. I will miss it a lot.'
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 15, 2000
Words:520
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