ITV Emmerdale: On and off-screen life of Malandra Burrows as she battles cancer

Earlier this week Malandra Burrows revealed her heartbreak at being given a breast cancer diagnosis. The former Emmerdale actress was diagnosed in February after finding a lump a month earlier.

However, Malandra, 56, is now feeling positive after having a stage three tumour removed from her left breast. “You may think you’re super healthy, but that little ‘C’ word can still get you,” she told OK! Magazine. “I just happened to catch myself [while exercising] and thought, ‘Good grief, what’s that?'”

At first she didn’t think it was anything to worry about but a few days later the lump hadn’t gone away and so she called her GP. “A week later I was at the hospital and the first consultant told me it was a cyst. He said, ‘I won’t be seeing you again.’ The relief I felt,” Malandra recalls.

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However, a follow up scan and ultrasound showed something that was a lot more sinister and she was invited to the hospital for another appointment and told to ‘bring someone with her’. “I’d already galvanised myself before hearing the news, so I’ve never cried about it,” she said. “In that week my body involuntarily had a breakdown. I didn’t feel like I was breaking down, but I just couldn’t eat or do anything. There was something in the back of my mind that knew what was going on inside my body.”

Now she’s up for the fight as over the next six months Malandra will undergo a course of chemotherapy. “I’ve kind of gone into combat mode. If I look back, I’ve given it everything I can and that’s all I can do. I hate to say it, but when it’s your life at stake you’re prepared to do everything to get through. That’s helped me focus.”

Fans will probably best remember Malandra, from Woolton, Liverpool, for her long-running role as Kathy Glover in ITV soap Emmerdale. She auditioned for the role just a mater of months after leaving drama school and got the part. She made her first appearance in the Dales in November 1985 and during her 16-year stint on the soap had a few marriages and had a near-death experience when she was hit by Steve Marchant’s car after he had been carrying out a robbery and left Kathy for dead.

Malandra in Emmerdale as Kathy

But in 2001, new series producer Steve Frost decided to write the character out. Malandra did, however, briefly reprised the role in 2005, as Kathy returns for the funeral of Seth Armstrong.

Before even leaving drama school Malandra had played several roles on television, appearing in The Practice and Fell Tiger, as well as taking two parts in the Channel 4’s former soap, Brookside – firstly Lucy Collins’ schoolfriend, Sue, and then Lisa Morrissey, the girlfriend of Pat Hancock.

And it is just acting Malandra has been involved in. She has also had some success in the UK Singles Chart, reaching number 11 with the song “Just This Side of Love” in 1990. She then released self-penned single “Summernight Love” in 1996 which resulted in a recording contract with Warner Bros and two more singles.

The actress appeared on I’m A Celebrity in 2006

During her career Malandra has played many parts in theatre as well as appearing on a few games and reality shows including in 2006 when she appeared on Channel 5’s The All Star Talent Show, coming fifth as a Fire Eater and entered late into the 2006 series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! on day seven.

She was found hanging from a tight rope and had to be rescued as part of the trial by Matt Willis and Lauren Booth. During her time in camp she took part in several Bushtucker trials and was the sixth celebrity to be evicted in a head-to-head with Dean Gaffney.

Not much is known about Malandra’s private life but she recently said amid her talking about her breast cancer diagnosis that she is single.