It's nearly 20 years since "Eldorado" blazed onto our screens. Does it seem that long ago?
Yes and no. It was such a big part of my life and it started my career in the media. Sometimes it feels like yesterday.
"Eldorado" was your first acting role I believe. Can you tell us a bit about how you came to land the part?
I was a student at Lord Mayor Treloar School and College, which is the largest boarding school in the UK for disabled students. The BBC casting department had spent quite some time looking for a disabled actress and during that process they contacted my school. As I had always done drama my name was put forward and the rest is history as they say.
You mentioned that you didn't realise there was a website dedicated to the show. Does it surprise you that it's still remembered fondly?
It still surprises me that people recognise me more from my Eldorado days than The Office for example.
Did you ever get to see any of the finished episodes? Apart from being busy making it, it wasn't actually broadcast in Spain I believe.
Not much to be honest.
The "News of the World" ran a story back in 1993, claiming that you had fallen for Kevin Hay (Razor) - was that true?
Yes Kevin and I were in a relationship together both on and off screen.
Do you still keep in touch with any of the "Eldorado" cast members?
Not any more.
Were you fully aware of the press backlash shortly after the launch? Did the production team try to hide that at all or were things quite open?
We were aware of some of the negative press, you couldn’t miss it. However, we didn’t let that bother us as we had a job to do.
It must have been extremely unsettling when Julia Smith left and things were overhauled (including reducing the cast numbers).
Yes it was unsettling during this time of change. We didn’t know who was staying and who was going but Corrine made a positive difference.
In what ways did Corrine make a difference?
Corrine made a huge improvement to the show. She was really positive and brought with her a breath of fresh air and a new perspective to the show. She also cut some characters that weren't needed which helped to tighten up the plots. Morale was a lot better.
Ruby Wax once visited the set and recorded her attempts to desperately get a part in the show. Was it nice to get some positive media attention?
Yes it was. She is a scary lady to work with but also very fascinating to watch.
Do you believe that, had it been given a chance, "Eldorado" would still be part of the TV schedules now?
Most definitely, people still miss it and it would make such a change from the negativity we see in our UK soaps. It was a much-loved show and had it been given the chance I believe it would still be going today.
What is your fondest memory of working on "Eldorado"?
All of the wonderful people I met there and living in Spain.
Were there any cast members you particularly enjoyed working with?
I particularly enjoyed working with my family as we had some interesting scenes together.
Any idea what happened to Kathy Pitkin? She seems to have vanished since the show, bar one performance in Panto.
No, she was a lovely girl.
Did "Eldorado" address the issue of disabilities well?
Yes, very well. Even today it isn’t addressed in any other programme that well and hasn’t since.
Were you able to have any input to storylines and your character?
Very little to be honest.
Was there much of Julie Fernandez in Nessa Lockhead?
Oh yes, I was a stroppy teenager myself so I was really playing me!
You've campaigned tirelessly over the years, in respect of disabled people's rights. What progress has been made and what is there still to do?
There has been very slow process and there is still so much to do for disabled people to live full and active lives in the UK.
You founded "The Disability Foundation" back in 1998. It sounds a fantastic organisation which seems to offer much more than traditional treatment. What was your goal when you started the organisation and are you still involved?
After my many operations I had alternative therapies and wanted to open a centre for disabled people and their families to come to. No, I am no longer involved.
What can you tell us about "Bee Crafty"?
Bee Crafty is a wonderful business and shop in Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire) offering classes in crafts. In fact we are much more than a shop now, we are a community.
What does 2012 hold for Julie Fernandez?
Well, hopefully Bee Crafty will grow from strength to strength as will my media career.
My thanks to Julie for agreeing to take part in this interview. For more information about Julie and her work, please visit www.juliefernandez.com. You can also find out more about her latest project, BeeCrafty at www.beeingcrafty.co.uk.