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Linda Robson responds to rumors of falling out with Pauline Quirke and Loose Women pals

Linda Robson must be exhausted. Or rather, if the TV rumor mill is to be believed, she should be.

For according to the chitter chatter of her industry, not only is Linda estranged from Birds of A Feather co-star and lifelong friend Pauline Quirke, but the entire cast of Loose Women are also chomping at the bit to take each other down.

It’s a lot of aggravation for a woman who’s spent the past three years recovering from the impact of alcohol abuse and obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s also quite peculiar, considering these were the very same people she credits for helping her through that order.

So perhaps that’s why Linda is so very quick to speak her mind on the matter…. and a few others while she’s at it.






Linda Robson and Pauline Quirke have been friends for decades

“People say Pauline and I have fallen out,” says Linda, 63. “Obviously I couldn’t see her during lockdown but I’ve seen her since. She just doesn’t want to act anymore. She’s had enough – it’s long hours.

“She’s concentrating on her drama academies. She’s very hands on, going to classes and all that.

“I see Lesley [Joseph] all the time because we won Celebrity Coach Trip last year. And during the lockdowns I would leave funny things on her doorstep, like Tena Lady and hair dye!

“But when I was ill, both Pauline and Lesley rang me, or a member of my family, every couple of days to see how I was. They were both a big support and really there for me.”

It’ll be reassurance to the fans of the sitcom, who’ve spent 30-odd years invested in the highs and lows of Pauline and Linda’s downtrodden Essex wives Sharon and Tracey Theodopolopodous (plus the rather different ups and downs of Lesley’s maneating neighbor Dorien Green).







Linda is a regular panelist on Loose Women
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But it’s Loose Women who have really been pitted against each other of late, with rumors of behind-the-scenes squabbles flying on social media.

“Just because it’s a women’s show people always ask ‘Do we get on?’,” says an exasperated Linda. “We do get on. They wouldn’t ask that of a man about a men’s show would they? We all meet up with each other all the time.

“Janet Street Porter rang me every day when I was off. People can be a bit scared of Janet – but she’s actually a pussycat, a really lovely caring woman.”

Linda’s also close to co-star Brenda Edwards, whose son Jamal Edwards MBE died suddenly on February 20, from an undisclosed illness.

The 31-year-old music producer founded pioneering music YouTube channel SB.TV and helped launch the careers of Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sande and Linda’s own son Louis Dunford, 30.







She appears on the show alongside the likes of Stacey Solomon and Jane Moore
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She’s close with co-star Brenda Edwards, whose son Jamal Edwards recently passed away
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“My son wouldn’t be in the music industry if it wasn’t for Jamal,” sighs Linda. “He mentored him, took him to The BRITs. He was the loveliest boy.

“I went to see Brenda. I don’t think she really knows what’s hit her yet. They’re a really tight-knit family. We just want her to know we all love her and are there for her.”

Born and bred in London’s Islington, Linda’s lucky not to have been through the same grief herself. In 2008 her then 16-year-old son Louis was famously left cradling his dying best friend Ben Kinsella, brother of EastEnders’ Brooke, after he was stabbed in an unprovoked attack outside a north London party. Linda’s husband Mark had been on the way to pick them up.

It’s thought her anxiety around the 10th anniversary, combined with a bad reaction to a prescribed antidepressant, were the last straws which saw Linda spiral into her drink and OCD “meltdown” in late 2018. Her OCD saw her taking four baths and washing her bed Cada dia.







Linda pictured with daughter Bobbie Dunford
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The actor pictured with son Louis Dunford
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By early 2019, she was drinking so heavily just to block it out she once downed rum straight from the supermarket shelf. Her family de ella began locking her in her room de ella for her safety de ella and after police were called to her home, doctors finally discovered the problem with her medication. By then, she needed three trips to rehab and almost a year off Loose Women to recover.

Today, she’s proud to say she’s “absolutely fine,” but as OCD sufferers know, there’s no quick fix.

Even now, Linda must always have her work clothes “ready to go” the night before and insists on leaving the house “really clean and orderly.” So when Loose Women called her in as a last-minute replacement for a sick co-star recently, it was a real test – one she passed.

“Normally I’m organized the night before but I was still in bed. So I got in a bit of a flap….” Linda explains. “But once I got there I was fine.

“It was the same on the first day back after being off ill.

“Yet every time I go in, it just feels more and more like my life is getting back to normal.”

Linda fears a family link to the condition, which can present in different ways, after realizing her late mum also had it. “At the time we just thought she was really clean,” admits Linda.







Linda and pal Pauline are best known for their roles in Birds of a Feather
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On the upside, she’s been teetotal for three years and thanks to Virgin Pina Coladas – her “new tipple” – “hasn’t missed alcohol at all.” She’s also stopped blaming herself when it comes to husband-of-32 years Mark Dunford, son Louis, and daughters Bobbi, 26, and Lauren, 39.

“I’d always been the one who supported my family when there were problems,” Linda recalls. “Then suddenly the roles were reversed. I felt really guilty. But I don’t feel as much guilt now because I feel like I’m back to the woman I was before all of it.”

Linda adds: “And I think Mark and I are even stronger. I really think we are.”

She’s definitely back on fighting form.

Her local MP, former Labor Leader Jeremy Corbyn, recently got an earful when visiting the set of her new film Sumotherhood, the sequel to 2011’s Annuvahood.

“I had a go at him about the Islington road closures,” she laughs. “I wouldn’t say I scared him, but I gave him a talking to!”







Linda is open to reprising her role in Birds of a Feather
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Then there’s Laurence Marks, the Birds of a Feather writer, who hit headlines last month by saying the sitcom, which ran between 1989 and 1998 and 2014 and 2021, would never return. “When we created [them]they had a whole sexual life in front of them and it was all about sex,” he said. “Now they’re in their 60s, it’s a different sort of series.”

Linda’s unimpressed. “I honestly don’t know why he said that, I really don’t,” she exclaims. “We did it in our 60s already. And we’re growing old with the audience.

“Tracey got skin cancer. We had menopause patches all over the set. And Dorien’s never going to give up on men! Lesley’s 76 now and she still has the same figure as when we started!

“So yeah, now we’ll probably never get to do it again. But I just think people still love the show and have a lot of history with it. And we brought a younger audience to it as well.”

Asked if she would do another series, Linda doesn’t hesitate: “Yep! Yep! We had the happiest time.”

The mum-of-three is also fighting for another good cause – encouraging women to get cervical screening. Both her daughters were found to have abnormal cells just before the pandemic.”







Linda and husband Mark Dunford
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“When Lauren and Bobbi got the letters, it was a really worrying time,” she recalls. “It’s always in the back of my mind that both my parents had cancer.

“Eventually everything was okay, thank God. Both my girls are doing really well now, they’re fine. But it’s so important to get regular checks.”

The joint Department of Health and Social Care and NHS campaign was launched as it was revealed one in three women do not go for their cervical screening. Two UK women die each day, but 83% of deaths could be prevented. In a poll of 3,000 people, 42% claimed they were too “embarrassed” while 28% “worried it would be painful.”

“It’s not nice – you’re there with your legs in the air,” laughs Linda. “But it’s 10 minutes. When you think of all the hours in every day, it’s not long, if it can save your life.”

As for “embarrassment,” well, few could top Linda’s snafu. She previously admitted doctors discovered a coil she’d forgotten she’d had fitted….25 years ago.

“They asked: ‘Did you not feel it?’ but I didn’t!,” she laughs now. “It was embedded. I had to go to the hospital to remove it. That was a little embarrassing!”

Imagine the phone call when she told Pauline and Lesley….

Linda is backing the Help Us, Help You: Cervical Screening Saves Lives campaign, urging people not to ignore your cervical screening invite. If you missed your last one book an appointment with your GP or local sexual health clinic. For more information visit nhs.uk/cervicalscreening.

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