Adele Silva has always liked the idea of being wicked, so Queen Malevola is just the panto role for her, as she tells CHARLES HUTCHINSON.

THE last time Adele Silva disported herself in York, she was writhing around on a big bed and glorying in the name of Maggie Muff in a spoof on 50 Shades Of Grey at the Barbican in September.

She was still strutting her stuff on tour in Leesa Parker’s one-woman show 51 Shades Of Maggie in the first week of rehearsals for the Grand Opera House pantomime, but was able to join up with the rest of the Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs company in York on Monday.

Late, yes, but by comparison with last year’s demands, this is “a stroll in the park”, says the South Londoner, best remembered for her two Yorkshire soap stints as Kelly Windsor in Emmerdale on ITV.

Like last year at Southsea, she will be playing wicked Queen Malevola for New Pantomime Productions’ producer and director Simon Barry, with all but one of her fellow principal players transferred north from the Essex coast for this Christmas.

There is one other difference, however, beyond the addition of Norton actress Lauren Hood as Snow White.

“I had only two days of rehearsals last time, as I was doing a comedy pilot show called Training Days, which I had to finish filming in Oldham,” says Adele, who was stepping into the role left temporarily vacant by the gathering momentum of Lisa Riley, her friend from Emmerdale days, in Strictly Come Dancing.

“Lisa had called me in November and said ‘Hiya luv, I might need you to do me a favour, as I don’t know how long I’m going to be in Strictly?’ asking me if I could do her role in the meantime.”

At least that gave Adele plenty of notice to learn Malevola’s lines. “I knew I couldn’t be there till the Monday, so I had the script to work on, and when I arrived, Monday was spent ‘blocking’ all the scenes, Tuesday was the ‘tech’ and dress rehearsal, and Wednesday we started.”

Such is the nature of a profession that Adele first joined when starring in Doctor Who at the age of seven and continues to relish at 33.

She kept Lisa’s place warm until Christmas Eve, then had Christmas off. “Beautiful,” she says with a smile of reminiscence.

This season, Adele will be in malevolent mode for the full run, with a longer rehearsal stretch behind her. “But again I’ve rocked up a week late, after Maggie Muff, so I strolled in on Monday and at least this time I’ve got more time because we open on Friday [tomorrow],” she says.

“This now feels a walk in the park to me, as I had to learn a 40-page monologue for my last job, so this is fine, this is much easier.” Especially as the role is pretty much the same as last year.

Out of all the female pantomime roles, Adele would choose a walk on the dark side. “No disrespect, but Princess is boring! Cinderella is boring! No children ever want to be the Wicked Queen, the evil stepmother, but I’ve always wanted to be exactly that,” she says.

“I’ve always thought that, regardless of whether it was for theatre or TV, the strongest characters are the most memorable.

“I love how you go on stage as the wicked Queen and the children go absolutely wild and boo you.”

Life moves on for Adele in her professional and personal life. Long gone are the days of the lads’ mag pin-up pictures.

“If I could go back now I wouldn’t have done it, I wouldn’t have gone down that route, as I’ve got older and I’ve become more introverted, but I don’t ever regret anything,” she says.

“I did a few shoots; I will wholeheartedly hold my hands up about that, but I never went topless, I never went nude, and I think everyone should be judged as an individual case in the case of glamour photographs.”

The shots, after all, had given Adele an element of control at the time of her Emmerdale high profile. “Yes, there’s an option not to do it, but if you’re offered a lot of money for a glamour shoot…” she says.

“I’d just had the experience of being photographed in my bikini when I was on holiday in Cyprus with my parents, when I was 18, and the photographer selling the pictures to a newspaper, so that’s in the back of your mind, and then I got photographed in Dubai with a boyfriend.”

That was then, this is now, and you can see the beaming happiness in Adele as she sits in her dressing room, her hair in plaits. She reveals she is engaged to Oliver Farber, no date yet fixed for a wedding, but certainly wishes to have children.

“We met in the coffee shop ‘that doesn’t pay taxes’ [a reference to Starbucks], in Roundhay,” says Adele, who has a flat in Leeds that will come in handy during Snow White’s run.

“I go to that coffee shop regularly and we got chatting there. That was three years ago and it’s all good.

“Obviously, you start to think about children, though when can you plan? But the good thing about this job I do as a jobbing actress is that maybe sometimes I have more time on my hands than other people do.”

Children will hopefully be part of Adele’s future, but so too will acting.

“I’ve just turned 33, I’ve been doing it for 26 years, there’s no retirement age and I always see myself doing this job,” she says.

“I love it. Variety is the spice of life, so as long as I keep doing different things, great”.

Whether it be naughty Maggie Muff or wicked Queen Malevola.

• Adele Silva appears in Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at the Grand Opera House, York, from tomorrow until January 5 2014. Box office: 0844 871 3024.