Best-known for her long-running role as TV's Nora Batty, Kathy Staff shows Emma Pinch there's more to her than rollers and a gruff Northern exterior...
Kathy Staff, Crossroads battle-axe and lady of the permanently wrinkled stockings, is a strong woman by anyone's standards.
She fought off Compo's fumbled advances for 30 years and she's not about to lower her stout moral standards for the sake of mere entertainment.
So much so that even though the 76-year-old would love to do a musical, she has just turned down a starring role in the long-awaited West End production of Billy Elliot.
The reason? Bad language. She doesn't like it any more than she liked the loose behaviour that marked the reopening of the Kings Oak Crossroads Motel in 2001.
Initially Kathy was delighted to reprise her role as Doris Luke, laundry woman, after a 15-year hiatus.
"When I walked into the second lot of Crossroads it was a bit of a disaster. I thought the revival of it was terrible. Crossroads was a family show, children watched it when they got home from school, students watched it and elderly people watched it.
"The second time it was just like a sex show. All the young people jumping in and out of bed," she explained.
"I feel that the people who watch soaps are the middle aged and the elderly. They ought to be geared to them and people with young families that can't go out.
"I've refused two West End plays - one the grandmother in Billy Elliot and the grandmother in Billy Liar. I said 'I'm afraid I can't, because of the bad language'. I'd like to do a musical with no bad language'."
But she treasures her memories of Crossroads in its 70s and early 80s heyday.
"It was the happiest job I ever had," she said. "Everybody worked together so well that nobody every wanted to leave.
"I enjoyed it all, but I think the beginning was the most enjoyable when I went in as Benny's housekeeper. Paul Henry is a wonderful actor and anything but simple - he's a very clever boy."
Crossroads' legendary shaky sets and poor continuity was the inspiration for Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiques. In fact, Ms Wood has commented that the second run didn't work because its cherished poor production values were too diligently improved.
"It was not true that the sets were shaky," said Kathy firmly. "The sets were quite good. When it first started we were doing five shows a week so there was no editing time, so if a little mistake did happen we had to let it go through. This is where it got a reputation from."
Born in 1927 Kathy had wanted to be an actress since she was just four-years-old. The only showbusiness in the family was her parents' Gilbert and Sullivan recitals at church.
Her mother insisted she learned a trade because acting was so precarious, so Kathy first trained as a shorthand typist, which she said she "did for a while". But her heart was set on a life on stage.
She changed her name from Minnie Higginbottom because she did not think it would ever get her any acting work. She joined a "fit up company" travelling around Scotland, taking plays to village halls.
Her life was a constant round of erecting make-shift scenery, acting in the evening, then burning the midnight oil learning new scripts for the next day.
Kathy has carved a niche in playing strong, hard-working plain- speaking Northern women.
Fellow Crossroads actor Tony Adams said of her: "The wonderful thing about Kathy is that she fell out of the womb when she was 45 - she's basically always played characters older than herself."
She has the distinction of playing ten different characters in Coronation Street as well as starring alongside Alan Bates in the 1962 film A Kind Of Loving and becoming the butt of Les Dawson's never ending "my wife" jokes in TV's Sez Les.
Nora Batty became the prototype battle-axe, and she's now practically a British institution. What's her appeal?
"I always feel that men always think they are in the doghouse and with her they always are," said Kathy.
"I think she is popular because she is such a strong and over-the-top type, really. All the women I play are similar but not as forceful as Nora Batty.
"I am a Northern lady and I go to church like Nora does, running jumble sales. But I don't think my family would be fond of having her."