THE voice behind The Archers' latest character - cheeky 'pig lady' Hannah - is none other than an actor who hails from Grimsargh.
Helen Longworth, 32, whose theatrical talents were nurtured as a member of Grimsargh Players from an early age, was first introduced to listeners of the cult BBC Radio 4 farming soap when Hannah was interviewed for a temporary position on Tom Archer's pig farm a few weeks ago.
Work experience student Hannah, who is planning to study agriculture at university and who also hails from Preston in the series, is now hard at work on the farm, showing the men that she is more than up to the job - and knows her stuff.
Helen, who attended Grimsargh St Michael's, Longridge High and Clitheroe Grammar schools before going onto study theatre, film and television at Aberystwyth University, and had harboured an ambition
to join the Archers for some time, says she was delighted to be offered a part in the long running series.
"I am absolutely loving it. There is a really nice cast and everyone is very friendly. It is very fast moving... they record three episodes a day and you have to be on the ball and well prepared," says Helen, adding that she is also thoroughly enjoying playing 18-year-old Hannah, describing her as "quite feisty".
"She is quite cheeky to some of the main characters which I quite like. She speaks her mind and is quite confident, but because she is a girl some of the men don't think she is any good, but she turns out to
be very good and really knows her pigs."
Although Helen is an established radio actor, playing Hannah is her longest running radio soap part to date and although she doesn't yet know how long she will be involved, she has already recorded episodes through to January.
A multi-talented actor, singer and musician, besides work for Radio 4 (and 3), Helen enjoys a passion for live theatre which has seen her touring the country and working in schools. She has also appeared on television in series such as Heartbeat, Hollyoaks and Emmerdale.
Currently living in Lancaster where she is a singer in rock band 'Heroes of She' who have just released a single and where she is directing and taking part in this week's sellout Christmas miscellany 'Deck the Hall' at the castle, Helen says she enjoys adding different strings to her bow.
But how did Helen achieve her success to date? To learn more about her coveted place at RADA and the award which led her into radio work with the BBC as well as her forthcoming tour with 'Heroes of She', see next week's Longridge News' profile.