Celebrity agent Melanie Blake has written an expose about life in soap

Her first book Thunder Girls was inspired by her experiences working behind the scenes at Top of the Pops.

And now author Melanie Blake is lifting the lid on life in the TV soap industry in her second novel.

Melanie had an Amazon number one bestseller with Thunder Girls, released in 2019, which was made into a sell-out theatre production starring Coronation Street star Beverley Callard and Loose Women panellist Coleen Nolan.

But the celebrity agent, manager and publicist says that if it wasn’t for the first national lockdown in March, she wouldn’t have penned her second book Ruthless Women, as she was ready to quit writing.

“It wouldn’t exist if we didn’t go into lockdown,” said Melanie.

Melanie started out as an extra on Coronation Street and EastEnders

“I had given up. I was never happy with Thunder Girls.

“I didn’t enjoy it even though it went to number one. It never felt like my book.

“I had a number one book and I wondered if I was a one hit wonder.

“I gave up my publishing contract and gave up the option to write a second.

“Then I had this idea for a novel about a fictional soap.

“I woke up one night and that week I wrote for 16 hours a day.

Melanie with Beverley Callard, who starred in the theatre production of Thunder Girls.

“I was amazed. It was like I was in a trance.”

She added: “All the characters are so real and so vicious and there’s so much sex in it.

“I wrote it in a trance and the characters took over me.

“It’s sex from the female perspective and it’s very, very explicit. They’re having great sex.

“It’s the anti Fifty Shades of Grey and it’s really dirty.

“The women in my book would tie the men up.”

Melanie, who as a dyslexic was told by a teacher at school ‘the only thing you’ll be writing are labels on factory boxes’, says Ruthless Women, which this week stormed the Sunday times best sellers list, does for TV what The Devil Wears Prada did for the world of fashion magazines.

The scandalous novel, which goes behind the scenes of the fictitious soap Falcon Bay, is based on two decades she spent behind the scenes in the entertainment industry working her way up from an extra on Coronation Street and EastEnders to becoming one of the nation’s most powerful TV agents.

Melanie, who was inspired by reading Jackie Collins novels as a teenager in her hometown of Stockport, says her jaw-dropping bonkbuster featuring ‘fabulous, feisty and foul’ women are based on some of the stars she’s encountered.

“There’s no vanilla in this book and it’s based on what I’ve seen.

“Some are b****es, some are lovely, some are loyal, some are fragile.”

She’s become the best of friends with many of her clients but doesn’t mince her words when it comes to others who she hasn’t remained so close to.

“I’ve represented some evil witches from hell,” she said.

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“Some I would happily go to their funerals. I would go wearing red in six inch heels, and they’re still in TV to this day.”

Her new book Ruthless Women

Melanie, who now lives in a mansion in London following an incredible rise to the top after running away from her family home in Stockport, has represented hundreds of the most famous faces on British television including Bev Callard, Michelle Collins, Sherrie Hewson and Amanda Barrie, Emmerdale icon Claire King and EastEnders stars Danniella Westbrook, Gillian Taylforth and Nadia Sawalha.

There is no suggestion any of the women mentioned in the list above or pictured in this story were difficult to work with.

Nor is there any suggestion the characters from her book were based on the people featured in this article.

Asked what the reaction might be to the book by the hundreds of clients she has represented, she said: “They’re all going to go mad.

“This is the first time that the lid has been lifted by someone still working in the business.”

Melanie, 44, was behind Claire King’s return to Emmerdale as bad girl Kim Tate after 20 years, Daniella’s Westbrook’s EastEnders’ comeback as Sam Mitchell in 2009 after a nine year absence and Kathy Beale’s return from the dead plot twist in the BBC One soap.

“I’ve gone from being the least powerful person to going upstairs to negotiate contracts,” she said.

“I’ve been in contract negotiations, hospitals, weddings and I’ve been in the building when they’ve been fired. I’ve seen it all.

“I’ve come from the bottom of the studio to being one of the most powerful.”

Melanie with Coleen Nolan, who also starred in the theatre production of Thunder Girls.

On the pitfalls of fame Melanie said: “If you’re in a soap your life no longer belongs to you.

“You almost do a deal with the TV devil. The trade off is you’re never free of the public.

“Nobody escapes a soap opera unscathed.

“Claire King was trolled because she didn’t have plastic surgery so she came off social media.”

Melanie says soap icons have in a way adopted her.

“They’ve become the family I never had,” she said.

Melanie worked her way up from the bottom

“They saved me from a life of poverty and I gave them amazing careers.

“I champion older women and I’ve seen them coming into their own.

“I’ve seen them getting more and more fabulous – women in their 40s while I was in my 20s.

“Forty was considered too old and I pushed it up. These women are vital, powerful and stong.”

Melanie, who was in the Rovers Return on the day the hell-raising Battersby clan arrived on Coronation Street, stepped into the role of agent after comforting Sherrie Hewson on the day she was axed from the soap in 1997.

Behind the scenes is where she learned her craft.

“In my experience those who hold up the biggest ‘be kind’ banner are the biggest b**ches,” she said.

Ruthless Women by Melanie Blake, is published by Head of Zeus. It costs £12.99.

MEN – Stockport