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5 minutes with Catherine Russell: 'No one is safe in What the Butler Saw'

The Holby City actress is about to star in Joe Orton's play alongside Rufus Hound and Dakota Blue Richards

Catherine Russell in rehearsals fo What the Butler Saw

I used to want to be a bareback horse rider at the circus when I was growing up. I've wanted to be an actor since I was eight years old. But my parents insisted that I didn't do any child acting - really irritating - because they wanted me to finish my education. I genuinely believe that [the desire to act] is genetic. People often train, enter the world of acting and leave. A lot of the time it's because they don't enjoy the lifestyle - you have to really enjoy not knowing what's around the corner.

There's no point in an actor moaning about being unemployed. I've been in positions where I've saved enough money to say "I don't need to do that job", but I've also been unemployed for long periods and had to do jobs I don't want to do. But whether you want to do the job or not, someone is still giving you money for pretending to be somebody else.

The patients are the real lifeblood of Holby City. The regular cast all get on like a house on fire, but the new actors coming in every day really give the show its life force. Even though you're getting on a bloody Thameslink train - that's probably late or cancelled - every day, once you're at the studio, the day will not be the same as the day before.

There will be moments in What the Butler Saw where I'll think 'did the audience hear that line?' because they'll be laughing so much at the joke before. It's a high farce, it's satire, it's subversive, and it's bloody funny. It absolutely takes apart almost every establishment figure, from the police force to doctors to Winston Churchill to established religion. No one is safe - leave your PC hat at home.

I think there's going to be quite a buzz about the play. This year marks 40 years since Joe Orton's death, and obviously Rufus Hound is leading the cast. And people will want to come and see Dakota [Blue Richards], and Holby fans will want to come and see me. Hopefully it will draw a wonderful mix of people from those who have possibly never been to the theatre before, to people who are passionate about Orton's work.

The Curve has moved on leaps and bounds. Their recent launch night was incredibly impressive. Nikolai [Foster] and Chris [Stafford]'s enthusiasm to the people of Leicester was wonderful to see, and the people who were there really felt that this theatre was for them.

What the Butler Saw runs at Leicester Curve form 8 to 18 March, with previews from 3 March.