A FORMER Cranbourne School pupil has said goodbye to the role which propelled her to national attention – and now she is hoping to make her mark in Hollywood.

Shelley Conn, who plays the raunchy role of Jessica in Mistresses, has finished filming the BBC drama which follows the turbulent lives of four female friends.

Shelley, who also used to attend Queen Mary’s College, set pulses racing when she first appeared on the programme in 2008, playing maneater Jessica who refused to be tied down and indulged in various affairs.

In the second series, her character married but agreed to an open relationship with her husband.

Now, in the final series, currently showing on BBC1 on Thursday nights, viewers are seeing a different side to Jessica as she tries desperately to have a baby.

Shelley said: “I did try to do my homework and speak to women who have had similar problems, and I had underestimated just how deep and devastating it is to want to have a child so badly and for it not to happen.”

Referring to working with her co-stars – who this series have included the legendary Joanna Lumley – Shelley said: “I loved hanging out with the girls.

“It’s been billed as the final series, and whilst we will all be tempted if there’s a call from the BBC, everything runs its course. There was a sadness that it was ending,”

The 33-year-old is now filming a five-part drama series called The Oak, which is based on the lives of three different generations who have lived in the same house during different decades.

She said: “They are all linked by this little girl and it’s kind of a spooky story.”

The actress is hopeful that she can make her mark in the States. She said: “I’m dabbling in Hollywood. I have relatives in the States and I’m constantly sending auditions over there, and have a little part in a film at the end of the year.”

While she is enjoying her time in the small screen limelight, Shelley said she hopes her career will see her return to the theatre at some point.

She said: “I’m really grateful for what I have, but you never stop dreaming and I would love to return to the stage at some point.”

Shelley moved to Basingstoke with her family when she was nine and attended St John’s Church of England Primary School before moving to the then Cranbourne School, where her love of acting began.

She said: “In my heart of hearts, I knew what I wanted to do then, but it’s scary at that age to admit it.”

After studying a foundation course in drama and A-levels in English literature and history, she did a drama degree at the former Bretton Hall Arts College in Leeds, followed by a post-graduate degree at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Shelley now lives in London, but she still visits Basingstoke to see her family, and said: “I have a special place in my heart for Amazing-stoke.”