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New life after The Clinic as Leigh goes on stage to reveal her 'first time'

Leigh Arnold has revealed how saying goodbye to Dr Clodagh Delaney at The Clinic may be the perfect prescription for her career in 2010.

The socialite says she hasn't looked back since RTE decided to bring the axe down on the medical series late last year.

"One of the most dangerous things as an actress is to get typecast as a certain character," she said.

"A lot of the cast were feeling too settled and it gave me a proper kick up the backside and made me put myself out there again. I've been very lucky with The Clinic, it turned me into a household name, but I'm an actress and I want to perform. I don't just want to be known as a character in an RTE medical drama series." The Diary can reveal she's due to take centre stage in a new production of My First Time in the Tivoli Theatre shortly, alongside glamour girl Claire Tully (right) and comedian Alan Shortt.

Producers originally cast Boyzone star Keith Duffy in one of the leading roles but were forced to postpone the show in the wake of Stephen Gately's untimely death last October. Now that the crooner has reprised his role as flirty barman Ciaran McCarthy in Coronation Street, he has had to pull out, given that he can't fit the Irish show into his hectic schedule. One of the longest-running plays off Broadway, it sees the main actors regaling audiences with the nitty-gritty details of their first sexual experiences, with the stories based on real-life anecdotes.

Leigh added: "We just got the call this week to say the show is going ahead so that's great news.

"The play has got a great reputation all over the world and has featured people like Meryl Streep in it. The subject matter is all about losing your virginity and I don't think people will be that shocked about it. It's not such a big taboo subject as before -- Irish people have become very matter-of-fact about sex and are a lot more open minded than they used to be."

The star, who split from her boyfriend Marcus Sweeney last summer, has also wrapped on a new movie entitled Charlie Cassanova and has just been signed up to take a leading role in a new British movie.

"It's an English thriller based in Scotland so I have been over in London the last couple of days meeting with producers and I'm really excited about that," she continued.

"I can't say too much at this stage but there's a couple of other big names on board, which is brilliant.

"It will be great to move out of Ireland for a while and be connected with something completely different that's not Irish."

-- MF