Heartbeats Tricia Penrose almost unrecognisable from Gina Ward role 13 years on

Heartbeat star Tricia Penrose, 53, looks very different after stepping away from acting, following her rise to fame as Gina Ward.

Tricia’s Heartbeat character was a fan favourite at the time, and the actress went on to play the bubbly barmaid for 18 years, from 1993 to 2010.

In the hit ‘60s show, Gina was well known for serving pints behind the bar of the Aidenfield Arms.

The character was also beloved for her vibrant sense of fashion and choice of accessories.

However, in real life, Tricia has a more relaxed life than her on-screen persona, after taking a break from the spotlight.

After leaving the show, Tricia ventured into the world of broadcasting and is now a presenter for BBC Radio Manchester.

The former actress has also ditched her signature auburn hair, opting for a platinum blonde look.

Tricia arrives to work in a very different style than she did when she portrayed Gina, opting for comfortable clothes to present the radio, rather than her character’s more glamorous ensembles.

The star recently turned heads as she took to Twitter to praise Denise Welch’s son Matty Healy on his band The 1975’s performance at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend.

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Shouting out her fellow actress, Tricia tweeted: “What a fantastic performance on BBC Big weekend last night! @RealDeniseWelch you must be SO proud!”

Alongside the comment praising the band, Tricia shared a selfie with frontman Matty, which had been snapped backstage.

Before making a move away from acting, Tricia made appearances in Heartbeat spin-off The Royal, Brookside, Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

She also ventured into reality TV in 2013 with a stint in the Celebrity Big Brother house before losing out in the semi-final in a double eviction with Frankie Dettori.

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Tricia previously opened up about her exit from Heartbeat in a 2014 interview addressing her career plans.

She told Great British Life at the time: “I played Gina for 18 years so that is a massive part of me, but I would love to something different.”

Tricia went on to try to make a name for herself in the music industry before her job on the radio.

She released two singles – Where Did Our Love Go? (1996, UK No. 71) and Don’t Wanna Be Alone (2000, UK No. 44).

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