It's the series that has given a generation of baby girls a new name Chardonnay, and Footballers Wives' star Susie Amy is sure she'll meet one, one day. The role of Chardonnay Lane Pascoe raised the profile of Susie as viewers got hooked on the series.

The fashions, the dramas, the opulence, the high heels and those false fingernails all made the series a night-in must-see. Susie thoroughly enjoyed working on FW for the first two series but felt she left at the right time.

"I was just 20 when I got the part of Chardonnay, but even after two years out of the series the association with me is still strong. It was a difficult decision to leave when I did as I had no other job to go to, but I felt I had to move on," she says.

Filming for FW brought Susie to Croydon. Bride to be Chardonnay's hen night was filmed at Addington Palace in Gravel Hill. In one dramatic, much publicised scene, Chardonnay's bosom was set on fire when a floral lei around her neck caught fire in a confrontation with a drunken man.

"I remember that lovely building and of course it was on that impressive stairway that my character got burned. I was born in Croydon at Mayday Hospital. My family moved out to Virginia Water when I was about three years old."

For as long as she can remember Susie has always wanted to act.

"I've never wanted to sing and dance or be a pop singer, I always wanted to act although at school I was very academic. I did my A levels and got three Bs and a place at uni, but then my agent had me audition for Footballers Wives.

Her latest role is as far removed from frivolous TV as possible, and I discovered, it's a part that she has a special empathy with. In the hit West End thriller, Wait Until Dark, now on tour, Susie plays Suzy Henderson, who is blind.

This story of a blind woman's struggle against the criminal underworld was a huge cinematic hit in 1967 with Audrey Hepburn being Oscar-nominated for her performance as Suzy. All alone in her basement flat in Notting Hill Suzy has only her resilience and ingenuity to rely on as a team of twisted con-men terrorise her while hunting for hidden booty.

"It's a psychological thriller and a very tense drama," says Susie, "I was quite nervous about the role but I have a cousin who is blind. She is just 18 and has gone completely blind now. My aunt has been very helpful explaining Jennifer's problems and how she copes with her condition. She sent me videos and lots of information so I have a great empathy with the character because of the family links."

Wait Until Dark is on a 12-week tour and I wondered how Susie, and fellow cast members cope with that.

"The cast are all lovely, and thankfully we all get on really well. I like the idea of a different place each week and it makes the time fly by. I'm looking forward to coming to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre as I know Guildford very well, especially the shops!"

Since FW Susie has been photographed for the glossies and always manages to look in great shape. Her secret lies in a Valentine's Day gift her boyfriend Max Beesley gave her boxing lessons.

"I don't diet, I just eat sensibly. I'm not vegetarian and I do love sugar but it's just a quick energy high and then it's gone. I keep fit by boxing once a week, and I don't mean kick-boxing, I mean full on, sparring, proper boxing. It's exhilarating," she says. Paparazzi take note don't mess with Susie, she packs a punch!

What's next?

"I think I'll need a bit of time to recuperate as it is exhausting and I can't think beyond September/October, but I would like a good television drama to get my teeth into. I want to prove that I can do different things. I'd also love to do comedy. I'll wait to see what comes along."

l Wait Until Dark Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford August 15 to 20 01483 440000