STAR of stage and screen Phoebe Thomas is loving every minute of her stint in Southampton.

The actress, best known for her long-running part in Holby City, has returned once again to a role she knows and loves - the lead in Hetty Feather, the Jacqueline Wilson adaptation which is gracing the Nuffield stage this Christmas.

“It’s lovely being here at a theatre with such a brilliant loyal following,” she told the Daily Echo.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to again play this feisty, independent, spirited child who thinks she should have a place in the world when others don’t. I’ve always identified with Hetty, growing up with three brothers I had to be quite independent and feisty! Playing a child is great fun anyway and this is a wonderful piece of ensemble theatre that this company created and keep returning to. We all love working together and I know a lot of people say it in this industry, but the relationship between us all is like family.

“The trapeze and circus bootcamp was quite intense and there have been a few injuries. I’m nursing a little niggle now, but I’m loving it.

“Hetty is a brilliant role model and teaches children that they deserve a voice. That’s what Jacqueline Wilson does so well and the children in the audience have been completely transfixed.

“Jacqueline Wilson has been brilliant. When I first got the part, I really thought about how I was going to present one of her most-loved characters. We met for lunch and she was so helpful and so encouraging. She’s been a great supporter of the show.

Phoebe, 34, is in town with her partner Luke Potter, the show’s associate musical director, and their one-year-old twins and has been enjoying all of the city’s festive offerings, particularly the flying Father Christmas above the Bargate and the German Christmas market.

The audacious adventure, which runs until January 7, comes direct from a sell out West End run and Olivier nomination.

It is set in Victorian London and tells the story of an orphan, born in 1876 who is left by her mother at the Foundling Hospital for abandoned children. This strict Victorian institution can’t contain Hetty and she sets off on daring adventures including running away to the circus.

For tickets, call 023 8067 1771 or visit