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Sarah's uniform appeal

There are many reasons Sarah Manners loves her new role in The Bill, but the uniform is probably the main one.

Having played bubbly receptionists in both Doctors and Casualty, the 34-year-old actress has moved up the ranks to the role of uniformed police constable Kirsty Knight in the long-running ITV drama.

"It's my favourite role to date," she gushes. "It's the coolest role I've ever played. It's great drama and the actors I'm working with are so talented.

"I just absolutely love it, getting the uniform on, putting on your stab vest and your tool belt, it's so empowering."

It's lucky Sarah has come around to the idea of the police uniform, as when she first heard she might be playing one of the uniformed officers she was disappointed.

She explains: "When I first auditioned, they tried me out for a part in CID, which I was thrilled about because it's the more grown-up thing. After that they put me in uniform and my instant reaction was: 'Oh no, I wanted CID!' [but] as I put the uniform on, I was taken."

Sarah is also pleased to land a part which launches her straight into the action.

Cheeky

"A lot of the other roles that I've played have been the light relief, the comedy, and it's only been further along that I've got the heavy storylines, so for me to go in straight away and play a serious role is fantastic," she says.

Kirsty is Sun Hill's new area car driver and she's not one to sugar-coat her words.

Sarah says: "She meets Sergeant Stone on her first day. He's badly beaten up and she's quite cheeky to him from the off. He says he doesn't always make quite so much of an effort and she says: 'Yeah, looking good sarge!' So straight away you can see that's she's not too worried about what people think of her."

Kirsty fits in well with the other officers, Sarah says, immediately hitting it off with Sgt Jo Masters (played by Sally Rogers) and PC Mel Ryder (played by Rhea Bailey).

But though her first meeting with Sgt Stone (played by Sam Callis) is playful, his actions immediately throw her into a professional dilemma.

"When Kirsty first joins, Stone takes it upon himself to take revenge on the man who beat him up. Kirsty puts two and two together straight away.

"It's not something she would do, it's not something she agrees with but she has had contact with this character and he is a nasty piece of work, so I think she's quite pleased to see him in that state," Sarah reveals.

Sarah also hints that there could be some romance in store for Kirsty. "She gets on very well with all of them so far and she's about to get on even better with one of them.

"There is going to be an instance where Kirsty and one of the young men attend a scene which is very traumatic, and as a result of that they end up consoling each other in a certain way I believe."

But on the identity of the lucky man, Sarah uses her right to remain silent.

Childish

Other thrills are also in store for Sarah, who's looking forward to developing the daredevil side to Kirsty's character.

She says: "I get to do all the fast-pursuit driving, which is extremely exciting. I haven't actually got to do that yet but within my first week of filming we got to put the blue lights on, which I was being very childish about.

"Kirsty is an adrenaline junkie and so am I. In fact, shortly before I got The Bill I did a sky dive. I've done bungee jumps, I've done bridge swings, parascending and I like speed."

She's even hoping to do her own stunts -- and has already offered to be beaten up repeatedly for the role.

It seems things at Sun Hill are likely to be even more exciting now that PC Kirsty Knight is on the beat.

Sarah Manners joins The Bill on ITV1 on Thursday, February 18


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