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My seven years of three in a bed love; BY THE STREET'S ALMA.

Byline: Steven Ventura

CORRIE favourite Amanda Barrie has confessed to being a drug-pushing bisexual raver who enjoyed three- in-a-bed romps.

Best known as Alma Halliwell, the 67-year-old has opened her heart in a shocking new autobiography.

She tells of seven years of lesbian affairs and kinky threesomes she enjoyed with her husband Robin Hunter.

And the Street favourite also recalls the time she was asked to seduce a young, virgin Prince Charles.

But the stories which will stun her legion of fans are those of her saucy, secret sex sessions with other women.

She says: "I was 35 and had never slept with a woman before, but part of me had always been expecting it to happen."

`It' came when the Lancashire lass bedded a woman at the Covent Garden flat she shared with Hunter.

The actress said: "I found sex with her more erotic and satisfying than I ever had with any of the many men there had been in my life - including my husband."

Amanda wed actor Robin Hunter in 1967.

He reacted to his wife's gay romp confession by inviting her lover to move in and share the marital bed. The threesome would live together for seven years.

The actress says: "I will leave the details of the sex which took place between the three of us to your imagination. Suffice it to say that it was very interesting indeed."

Amanda's first brush with her hidden sexuality came at boarding school where she met a girl five years her senior.

She recalls: "Nothing wildly sexual took place between us. There wasn't any writhing around in bed, just a tremendous amount of kissing."

Born in 1935 as Shirley Anne Temple, Amanda Barrie was on stage from the age of three.

A decade later, after a battle with dyslexia, she left home in Ashton- under-Lyne to join the Theatre Girls Club in London's Soho.

She once said: "No 13 year old could survive in London in those days, but I was very well protected.

"All the local prostitutes would look out for us and make sure we got home safely."

The chorus girl, who rubbed shoulders with fellow dancer and future soap rival Barbara Windsor, kept her sexual feelings to herself.

She says: "Over the next few years, things began to fall into a familiar pattern. All too often when I was in a show, I would find myself wildly attracted to the leading lady.

"Instead of facing up to it, I'd go into total denial. My solution was to jump into bed with the leading man instead."

Amanda went on to command many parts in West End productions before appearing in the notorious Carry On movies during the Sixties.

It was around this time uppercrust actor James Robertson Justice made an astounding proposal to the actress.

Justice, known for his royal connections, claimed he had been chosen by Buckingham Palace to help launch the young Windsor males into their future lives.

AMANDA recalls: "He informed me `We have had a lot of discussions about who might be suitable for Prince Charles and we agree that it could be you.

"We don't really want people who are experienced, but on the other hand, they obviously have to know the ropes'."

She adds: "I politely declined. I just had this awful image of the Queen saying to me at breakfast the next day `So, Amanda, how was it?'"

The swinging Sixties continued for the actress, who by this time had started to experiment with drugs.

She said: "I was even a pusher for a while. I knew a lovely man who had a chemist's shop in Charing Cross Road.

"He used to give me the things by the boxload."

More gay flings followed, as well as an affair with Britain's first king of pop, Billy Fury. But apart from the secret of her sexuality, Amanda hid something else from the public - her true age.

Until two years ago, the Corrie star always maintained she was born in 1939. Even her wedding certificate shows the bride as still in her 20s, when in fact she was nearly 32.

The actress left the Street recently after becoming a regular in 1989 as Alma Sedgewick.

She suffered retinal damage in her left eye some years earlier but her health improved and she still performs in panto occasionally.

She has recently been romantically linked with former tennis player Marie Jose Pascual Ventural.

The soap queen adds: "There are many people like me who cannot be labelled in terms of their sexuality.

"For me, some people are just more all right - in bed and out of it - than others and it doesn't matter if they are male or female."

Amanda Barrie's autobiography, It's Not A Rehearsal, published by Headline, is out on October 21.

s.ventura@dailyrecord.co.uk
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 8, 2002
Words:804
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