By anyone’s standards, actress Rula Lenska has led an extraordinary life. Born to Polish aristocrats, refugees from the Nazis and then the Soviets, her father was heavily involved with the Polish government in exile. Renowned as a vivacious flame-haired beauty, she found fame in the 1970s as ‘Q’ in the TV series Rock Follies, before accidently conquering America with an Alberto VO5 hair products commercial, famously prompting Johnny Carson to ask on his show, “Who the hell is Rula Lenska?!”
Her long and varied theatrical career has included roles in classic British television series such as Minder, To the Manor Born, Doctor Who, Casualty and of course, Coronation Street, as well as stage credits for The Vagina Monologues and Calendar Girls. However, her success has often been tempered with heartache. Despite the fanfare surrounding her celebrity marriage to Dennis Waterman, the relationship would eventually turn sour.
Then there was her surreal appearance on Celebrity Big Brother UK (which she calls sixteen days of madness), where she emerged to find pictures of George Galloway with his head in her crotch being broadcast all over the world.
Rula’s surreal, extraordinary experiences don’t end there – she was once even held in a Sardinian jail on (false) drugs charges. No stranger to Africa, she has dedicated much of her time to wildlife charities, and more recently has been a real advocate of a ban on ivory. She has also had many adventures connected to her work with environmental charities. Now older, wiser and elevated to the status of national treasure, Rula Lenska has got a fascinating story to tell.
My Colourful Life by Rula Lenska is available from The Robson Press, priced £20.