by Anthony Skene
Starring Edward Chapman, Nicole Maurey, Virginia Stride, James Kerry
Multitex makes another bid to gain control of Champion's. Joe will do anything to prevent it but is not helped by the elusiveness of Mr. Yeoman.
See page 12
The slim girl who plays Liz Champion can't quite forget the days when she was fat
Although Virginia Thomas had been acting for several years and was beginning to get a name for herself in the profession, she changed her name upon getting married: Agents were always on at me, saying that Thomas didn't sound quite right. I kept hearing "Can't you find another name?" When I married John Stride, whom I'd known since we were at drama school together, I thought Stride was such a good name for an actress that I decided to use it. I know it's odd to take one's husband's name and, as he was already quite well known, I imagined people saying, "Oh yes-Johnny Stride's wife trying to earn a few pennies!" But I didn't feel like having three names, so Virginia Stride I became.'
Virginia caught the acting bug in childhood. 'I got my first "star" part in a school play, Fat King Melon. I played the title role. I was a fat little girl and for some years I was so self-conscious about this that I came to the conclusion it would be hopeless for me to try to be an actress. I was good at English and my parents wanted me to go to university. But an offer to go to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art came up and I felt I'd have a chip on my shoulder all my life if I didn't accept. Fortunately, I started to lose weight in my late teens.'
She has two daughters, aged four and two-and-a-half. 'In both cases I was able to keep working until two months before they were born. The first time I was in Z Cars and the second time I was appearing, as myself, in BBC-2's Play School.'
As seen now, portraying the seductive Liz in Champion House, it is difficult to imagine that Virginia was ever too plump. But the thought still troubles her and she has occasional days of hardly eating: Once you've been that way you can never quite believe you're not still fat! '