Former Hollyoaks star Jennifer Biddall has landed one of the lead roles in a major new musical production, despite having overcome surgery on her vocal cords.

For a month she could hardly speak let alone sing but that did not stop her landing a leading part in the musical Dreamboats and Petticoats, which is being directed by leading West End impressario Bill Kenwright.

Miss Biddall, 28, who grew up in Corsham, took time out after playing Jessica Harris in Hollyoaks and then moving on to Spooks to try something new. She toured the country as part of the musical The EXtra Factor and then sang her heart out as Beauty in Beauty and the Beast at Weymouth Pavilion, a production that ended last month.

She loved the stage so much that she auditioned for the upbeat 1950s musical Dreamboats and Petticoats, even though she thought she didn’t stand a chance.

“I wasn’t going to go to the audition because I felt terrible on the day, I had some food poisoning bug but I decided to go along anyway,” she said.

“There were so many people auditioning for my part and I never thought I would get it because all the girls were brilliant singers and dancers.

“I had also had surgery on my vocal cords last August as I had a cyst on them and found it virtually impossible to speak for more than month afterwards. So singing made me really nervous.”

She recalled the surreal moment when she was told she had been chosen to play Sue, a 17-year-old girl who is going out with Bobby, played by Scott Bruton, a finalist from X Factor 08, but she falls in love with Norman, played by former Emmerdale star Ben Freeman.

“The best moment was when I found out I had got the part and went to meet Bill Kenwright. He said he loved my audition.”

Miss Biddall, who is staying in London with her boyfriend Tom, has loved every minute of the weeks of rehearsals, before the touring production opens in Bromley on February 19.

Her parents Ann and Michael Biddall, of Tellcroft Close, Corsham, are eager to catch up with the show when it plays at the Bristol Hippodrome between April 27 and May 2.

Mr Biddall said: “It will be nice to see her perform in Bristol as we haven’t seen her in a while because she is really busy. The musical looks like it will be a huge success as tickets are selling out fast – the tickets we wanted were sold out and so we had to get other ones.”

The cast has been told that if the show is a huge success it may even make it to the West End.