I was born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, in a a small town called Pointe-a-Pierre on the 23rd September 1949. My first memory of that wonderful sun drenched Caribbean island was when I was three years old and I treasure those memories. I came to Britain in 1960 and experienced a huge culture shock because I expected everyone to treat me kindly and with respect, but Britain was cold, unwelcoming, violent and bleak. I had to learn to live in two cultures fast if I was going to survive.

My beautiful mother showed all her six children masses of love which gave us confidence. She told us each day before we went to school that education was our passport to life and to go to school and learn everything the teachers told us. I did just that and loved my time at school because my mum set us that goal!

My dad was a jazz musician and a great philosopher. He opened our minds to the world and taught us how to think outside the box.

I always wanted to be a teacher but my parents couldn’t afford to keep me on to do my A Levels so I had to leave school at sixteen. I worked in a bank for three years whilst doing my A Levels at night school, I thought I could be Britain’s first black woman bank manager but I soon realised it was an impossible dream in those days. So I auditioned to go on a national tour of a hit musical. I hadn’t been to drama school so I got the bank to keep my job for me just in case I didn’t like being on stage. But I never went back!

I appeared in several stage musicals, such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Black Mikado, and had a great time performing but I also wanted to be on television so I kept on auditioning until I got a break. It came with a drama called Within these Walls with Googie Withers. It was the chance I needed and after that I went on to appear in one drama after another working with some top directors and producers.