TO millions of TV viewers Carol Harrison will always be known for her role in EastEnders but perhaps her enduring legacy could prove to be the musical All or Nothing which comes to Manchester Opera House on Tuesday.

For Carol has devoted the past eight years to ensuring that the story of four young lads from London's East End who became one of the most influential groups of all time saw the light of day.

She has had to battle against a massive amount of negativity for the project before finally being able to bring the story of the Small Faces to the stage.

Now, not only does Carol now star in the production, she wrote the script and is the show's producer.

"Oh I don't just go in to do the show like everyone else," she laughed during a rare day off from the tour.

"It's something that has been close to my heart for a very long time. I wanted to tell the story and incorporate some of the excitement I felt growing up in the Sixties.

"I wanted to capture the period when working class people, for the first time really, were being recognised as artists and that you felt you could express yourself.

"And I wanted tell the classic rock and roll story about one of the best bands ever who are kind of the most unsung in many ways."

Carol has a deeply personal connection to the Small Faces having grown up near the band's lead singer Steve Marriott.

"My aunt lived two streets away from his mum, my cousin knew him, and another cousin was in a band with him," she said. "He came round to our house when I was eight years old and he was just this amazing bundle of effervescence and talent. I had a bit of a crush on him."

The story of the Small Faces is a classic tale of rock and roll success, excess and ultimately tragedy. In a career lasting just over four years, the Small Faces - Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McClagan - released a string of hit singles including Itchycoo Park and Tin Soldier and albums such as Ogden's Nut Gone Flake which have influenced bands to this day.

"They still have a legacy that goes on," said Carol.

ALthough technically a musical - the songs feature prominently - Carol had a specific vision for All or Nothing fro the outset.

"It's more like a play with a live gig," she said. "It's not your general fluffy, soppy musical -I didn't want to write anything like that, I wanted to write an edgy, truthful, funny and in a certain way tragic story and marry it together and celebrate London and the East End where I come from."

When Carol first raised the idea for All or Nothing she was met with a wall of negativity.

"I did get a lot of negative reaction from the theatrical world," she said. "People would say 'oh they're not well known enough' or 'who would want to go and see that? They'd say it needed to be more fluffy or have a central love story. There were suggestions that perhaps if we had someone from X Factor playing Steve Marriott people might come and see it.

"But I just said 'no, I'm going to do it my way',"

After many knock backs, Carol finally found what she calls her 'angels' who allowed her dream to become a reality and she has been involved in the show every step of the way.

"It is all consuming and nobody knows it better than me or has dedicated as much of their life to it as I have," she said.

"Already the show has got a cult status," she said. "We've had people coming back time and again. One girl has been back 24 times and got a tattoo. It is building and building."

Part of All or Nothing's appeal is its realism and authenticity, much of it driven by Carol.

"To me what is important is the whole Mod element," she said. "The Small Faces were aMmod band, they didn't become Mods or be fashioned into Mods.

"The thing about Mod is that it always looks cool," she said. "I had to have a hand in everything. I'm the oldest one in the show and it took some explaining to the youngsters in the cast what we felt, it was a very different world than now.

"But one of the reasons that people enjoy it so much is that it's very immediate and very direct."

In writing the show Carol spoke to Steve Marriott's mum and she has become very close to his daughter Molly.

"I was very conscious about the families," said Carol. "When we played Shrewsbury, we had all of the Laine family there which was wonderful."

One thing which has surprised Carol as the tour has progressed is the diverse nature of the audience.

"We are getting different generations coming along, sometimes it's people who have never been to the theatre before which is great," she said.

"It's a very poignant show at times and we do have have grown men in tears bless them, but above all it's a celebration.

"At the end and everybody is up singing along and dancing and you have all different types of people coming together, that is my moment."

Having brought the show to the stage, Carol's dream is now to see it live on.

"I think the whole thing about the Sixties is that it's still seen as the greatest time in music. I really think this show could go on and on even when I'm not here. Look at Buddy been going 30 years also think it could go around the world, are people that want it.

"I'd love to take it around the world and also to keep taking it around the country. But also it would be wonderful to go into the West End but that requires a whole lot of money."

All or Nothing, Manchester Opera House, Tuesday, October 18 to Saturday, October 22. Details from 0844 871 3038