Zoe's back as TV man-eater Tanya - but off-screen she's tight-lipped on romance
WHILE the latest series of Footballers' Wives is full of the usual antics, some loyal fans may have noticed the show has been missing a certain something - or rather, a certain blonde someone.
But Earls Park's screaming superbitch Tanya Turner, played by Zoe Lucker, is set to make a dramatic re-entrance - and this time she's badder than ever.
It's something of a surprise return for the Huddersfield actress, who many believed would never return to the series that made her a worldwide star.
As evil vixen Tanya, Zoe has done time in prison, worked her way through three husbands, engineered a baby swap and started more feuds than most footballers' wives have had hot dinners.
But when she heard veteran actress Joan Collins would be joining the show as international magazine editor Eva de Wolffe, the 31-year-old was more than happy to step back into Tanya's stilettos.
So she returns tomorrow.
"Joan Collins is a fantastic woman. I've always had a huge thing about her, when I was told that she was going to be on the show, I knew I had to do it," she said.
"She's a consummate professional, great fun and completely down to earth. She's an icon, she's just amazing."
And Zoe promised some fiery interaction between the two: "People are going to watch and just love it. There's a great dramatic scene between us."
While Tanya Turner eats men - particularly footballers - for breakfast, and doesn't care who knows about it, Zoe is a more circumspect about her private life.
She won't reveal whether she's seeing anyone after splitting from former boyfriend DJ Tom Thorpe - and laughs off suggestions that the new man in her life is TV presenter Chris Evans.
"Chris and I get on really well, he's a good bloke and I'm good mates with some of his friends. I respect him as a person and that's it," she insists. "I'm absolutely loving my life and I'm very happy at the moment."
Offscreen, Zoe shares a house in Stoke Newington, London, with fellow Footballers' Wives cast member Sarah Barrand, who plays Shannon Lawson.
While Sarah is well-known among the cast for her shoe obsession, Zoe confesses she too has a secret shopping vice.
"I'm really big on bags. If I spend serious money on anything, it's bags. I spent about £800 on a Mulberry recently.
"But generally I like the high street when it comes to clothes and shoes. I love finding shoes that look just like the designer ones."
The housemates' wardrobes have grown so much they've turned the third bedroom into a giant wardrobe.
"Sarah's mum came around and organised all the clothes, and Sarah got some clothes rails, so now it's like a shop," said Zoe.
It might sound super organised, but this level of tidiness pleases the actress, who has a bit of a reputation as a neat freak.
"I don't like clutter, I don't like things being in the wrong place," she said.
"I like to tidy up before going to bed. I notice dust and stuff."
"Tanya Turner would probably pay someone to do everything, but to be honest, I don't want people to do it for me.
"Over the last few years people have started to realise that I'm not like Tanya Turner. I don't go clubbing, that's not my thing at all. I keep my head down and get on with my work."
As to whether Tanya will show her face at Earls Park again after this series ends, Zoe is keeping an open mind.
"It would be quite stupid to say `never again', because I have said that before, but I have other programmes in the pipeline."
And despite the rumours, those projects do not include a visit to Weatherfield.
"I read the other day that I was going to Coronation Street," she said. "I have never had a conversation with my agent about Coronation Street in my life!"
* Footballers' Wives is on ITV1 tomorrow at 9pm.