Alison Steadman and Sheila Dillon join The Archers

The pair will be making guest appearances this month

Sheila Dillon and Alison Steadman in Ambridge_credit BBC (3)

Actress Alison Steadman is to guest star on The Archers later this week playing Pat’s friend Olwen.

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Steadman – seen most recently in BBC1 sitcom Hold the Sunset – will first be heard in the Ambridge-set drama on Tuesday 4 April.

Speaking to Radio Times about devotion to The Archers, Steadman said: “I’ve been listening since I was seven years-old. My parents always listened to it – we didn’t get a television for a while, so radio was our thing.

“I’ve got a sister who is 12 years older than me so when I was little she was like my second mum and she would say that I could listen to the Archers and then it’s straight to bed.

“So as soon as I heard the end music that was my cue to go up to bed.  When I listened I’d paint this picture of Ambridge and I always used to think that Phil Archer was the most drop dead gorgeous guy.”

Sheila Dillon and Alison Steadman in Ambridge_credit BBC (4)

As for what listeners can expect from Pat’s old activist pal, the actress added: “I like her – she’s a bit of a pain, but I really like her. She’s one of those people that you meet and then 10 minutes later you’re thinking just get rid of her!

She’s honest, open and the kind of woman who will say what she’s thinking. She doesn’t have a stop button. The most boring thing is to play someone really nice, so when I read the part I thought, ‘oh yeah! I’ll have a go at her!'”

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Steadman isn’t the only guest performer planned for April: later this month, Sheila Dillon (presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme and pictured with Steadman above) will be heard popping up at Bridge Farm to judge Helen’s cheese for the BBC Food & Farming Awards.