Hollyoaks Nana McQueen stars life – Carry On fame, divorce and rockstar past

Soap star Diane Langton is best known for playing Hollyoaks favourite Nana McQueen.

The 74-year-old actress is also applauded for her extensive work in the West End having joined the London cast of Billy Elliot as Grandma in between her stints on the Channel 4 serial drama.

Somerset native Diane launched her stage career in 1968 thanks to her well-received performance in the West End production of Hairspray but found her calling as a musician in the first three-woman rock band.

Some fans may remember the talented star from her role in Carry on England where she took over from leading lady Barbara Windsor, whom she was later reunited with on EastEnders.

With an impressive resume spanning multiple generations and genres, Daily Star has taken a look inside the life of multi-talented star Diane.

Acting career

Most notable for her portrayal of Nana McQueen in Hollyoaks, Diane also appeared on rival soap EastEnders as Cindy Beale's mother, Bev Williams and played Ruby Rowan in Heartbeat.

Along with her work on British soaps, the TV star has appeared in the British classic Only Fools and Horses as June Snell, a former girlfriend of Del Boy, The Rag Trade and Bergerac.

The actress, who is a classically trained ballet dancer, has also starred in a string of West End plays including A Chorus Line, Chicago and Mary Poppins.

Her long stage career began with an appearance in Hair, in 1968 and in1982 she appeared in the Royal Variety Performance, performing a song from Showboat.

Diane's most recent West End performance was in 2010 when she joined the London cast of Billy Elliot as Grandma.

Rockstar past

In 1973, Diane joined a three-women rock band called Rock Bottom.

The group, whose format had never been done before or since, had no backing or budget and wrote their own material.

Rock Bottom took off rapidly, performing on Capital Radio and LBC and appearing on Nationwide. The band held eight sold out live concerts and brought out a single.

However their unique three-woman rock band idea got taken by a television company who replicated all their details and stole their whole concept.

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Diane's bandmate Annabel Leventon recalled: "Thames TV said they wanted to do a series about us. We had a meeting and they said, ‘Are you happy for us to develop this show for you?’ We were excited.

"Our plan was coming true. Then they didn’t use us, but stole everything: our concept, our names, our heights, the colour of our hair, our backgrounds. We lost our recording contract.

"It was despicable. There was no way we could go ahead."

Rock Bottom later took Thames Television to the High Court for theft of their idea and won.

Diane went on to co-created a very successful – and BAFTA award-winning – ITV musical drama series titled Rock Follies, which was loosely based on her own story.

Personal Life

While little is known about the stage star’s private life, she married her second husband Derek James in 1976 after having a son from her first marriage.

The star has rarely spoken about her divorce publicly except to say that it led to the birth of her son.

Her second marriage has been going strong for over 44 years after the pair met while performing in theatre show Hair.

Hollyoaks airs weekdays on Channel 4 at 6.30pm followed by first look episodes on E4 at 7pm

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