GIVEN her track record for writing quality drama it comes as something of a surprise to learn that Kay Mellor had a major moment of doubt when it came to bringing Band of Gold, based on the hit TV series from the early 1990s to the stage for the first time.

“It was the week before the world premiere in Leeds and I was in the theatre watching The King and I,” she remembered. “I just looked around at the audience while they were all singing along to Getting To Know You and it just hit me.

“I just thought ‘what have I done? They are not going to like Band of Gold.’. For a moment I just lost my nerve.”

She need not have worried. Band of Gold, which comes to The Lowry, Salford Quays, next week has had standing ovations every night and rave reviews.

“I am just amazed and so grateful that it has gone down so well,” said Kay.

Band of Gold first appeared on TV in 1995 - the story of young women caught up in the sex trade it was thought-provoking, warm, gritty and realistic. All traits which have become signatures of Kay’s work ever since.

Given that the series - which starred Cathy Tyson, Samantha Morton and Barbara Dickson - was so successful, the obvious question would seem to be what took so long to bring it to the stage?

“Two things happened really,” said Kay. “I did Fat Friends the Musical and had a fantastic time. That was a great positive experience for me. That was really important.”

Kay both wrote and directed the show based on her TV series about a slimming group.

“The other thing was that people would ask me all the time about bringing Band of Gold Back. My standard reply was that I felt we had done the show but it showed me was that there was an audience which wanted to see those characters again.

“So after Fat Friends when I was asked if there was anything I would like to do theatrically I just said Band of Gold. I started writing it and workshopped it and brought a few people in to see what we had done. They all said we should carry on with it so we did more work, got a bigger group in to give their comments and every single one of them was positive. It was at that point when I really thought ‘I’m going to dare to do it’.”

As she did with Fat Friends, Kay has taken on directing responsibilities for the stage version of Band of Gold.

“It’s been great to revisit it,” she said. “I’m still polishing it all the time, I’m still tinkering with it. It’s a complete luxury to be able to do that.”

But having written such a successful TV show and now re-writing it for the stage, was Kay not worried about the pressure the added responsibilities of directing might bring?

“It’s not that difficult,” she laughed. “Sometimes I find it really difficult passing on what’s in my head into a director’s head. For me the nearer I get to the actors, the nearer I get to my vision.

“I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way but sometimes a director can be the thing that gets in between us.

“For me it’s a matter of how can I tell that story as best I can.

“I see myself as a storyteller – end of.

“Also we work as a collective. Yes I am the director but I am open to any suggestions - you can ask any of my actors.

“There is a whole team or people involved in this production. all of whom help me and work with me.”

For the stage version, Kay has assembled a star-studded cast including Laurie Brett, Sacha Parkinson and Shayne Ward.

“They are all really smart actors,” said Kay, “it’s been a pleasure to work with them.”

The cast also includes Gaynor Faye, star of both Emmerdale and Coronation Street, who also happens to be Kay’s daughter.

“Oh, she can be a bit gobby,” laughed Kay. “But seriously when we are working I am the director and she is the actor.”

Band of Gold ran for three series on TV so to condense it into a two-hour stage show could have presented a challenge.

“To be honest, once we’d decided to do it I just sat down and started writing it,” said Kay. “Those characters are as fresh for me today as they were back then.

“I have set it in its time, that was an important thing to me. The issue of sex workers today is very drug related today. Back in the 90s, it wasn’t just drugs. The women were doing it for their kids, for survival, to pay off debts. Often they felt they had no choice.

“Anybody who comes to see it will have the Band of Gold experience. They will feel that they are right back there again.”

Like the TV series the show includes a murder but Kay is playing her cards close to her chest.

“Don’t rely on the TV series, that’s all I’ll say,” she said mysteriously.

Kay is delighted to bring the characters back.

“They live in my head and I can just pull them out which is quite alarming. I don’t really want to think about that,” she laughed. “But I didn’t need to do any homework. When you’ve written something like that it really is burned on to your brain.”

Band of Gold, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Tuesday, January 21 to Saturday, January 25. Details from