BRITAIN'S first transgender actress to be cast in Doctor Who will talk about her personal journey as a recovering addict at the country's largest addiction conference in Bolton this week.

Stand-up star Bethany Black is special guest at the fifth annual National Recovery Conference, which takes place at the Macron Stadium on Thursday and Friday.

The comedian, who also appeared in Channel 4's Cucumber and Banana by Russell T Davies, plays drone-like soldier 474 in series nine of the long-standing BBC show, alongside Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald.

The 36-year-old, who admits she has "lived a life", is open about her experiences in her stand up routines, with the aim to helping other recovering addicts.

Bethany, who was born in Chorley and has family in Horwich, said: "I have been clean and sober for about seven years. In doing that, the thing you need to do is to talk about it. It helps people realise that they are not on their own, but also helps you get things straight in your own head.

"I didn't realise I had a problem. When you think about alcoholics you immediately think of tramps with string holding up their trousers holding a bottle of strong drink in a paper bag.

"But people don't realise it's not about how much you drink — it's about how it makes you feel when you do. I didn't drink in the morning, I'd never drink until the afternoon, but then I wouldn't get up until 11.30am. With drugs, when I wasn't using I was thinking about using."

Bethany will take to the stage at the conference, organised by charity Addaction, on Thursday evening.

This year's theme is Voices of Recovery, championing the exciting range of voices and perspectives that make up the recovery community.

She said: "It's not a moral choice, it's a form of mental illness — you start drinking or doing drugs and it starts the obsession, even though it destroys your life.

"Addiction doesn't discriminate, it robs you of everything and stops you from being able to remember how bad the hangovers and comedowns are. You only remember the good parts.

"By being open and honest to the public is the very least I can do — it's a duty. That's why I also talk about being transgender too. It's about bringing these issues into the open."

To find out more about the conference, visit