SHE'S a little curiosity, Clare Grogan. It's been 26 years since she stole the show in Gregory's Girl. Now she is starring in the new BBC Scotland sitcom Legit and she's got a new Channel 4 comedy in the pipeline.

It's an established industry fact that females have a better chance of surviving a night in Antarctica wearing only an itsy-bitsy bikini than remaining in the showbiz limelight past their mid-twenties.

But Clare keeps on going - presenting on TV, appearing in theatre, revues, picking up roles in the likes of Taggart and Red Dwarf and small, independent films.

Relaxing over a coffee in a city centre restaurant she doesn't seem caught up in any showbiz whirl.

When she talks about her priorities in life - family and friends - it would be easy to assume her career in showbiz is something that just happened to her.

But was it all down to the finger of fate pointing right at her. When Gregory's Girl director Bill Forsyth walked into the cafe in which she was waitressing he said, (to paraphrase) You'll do for me!' Did she want fame badly?

"I think I'm a mass of contradictions," she suggests, smiling.

Yes, but does she need the affirmation? The applause? The money?

"Well, I never think of myself as being an actor' type, but I suppose I am," she says.

"And yes, I'm compelled to do it. I suppose I need to perform.

"But at the same time you have your moments, when it feels wrong."

She takes a breath and offers some example, "I can't tell you the number of weddings I've had to miss over the years, these special moments.

"You can be on a film set or presenting a show in the Outer Hebrides when you should be somewhere else. But because of the huge expense involved if you ask for a day off the answer will always be no'.

"And that can be awful. So you just hope your friends and family understand. And they do of course.

"But, yes, work does pull you apart.

"Obviously, having adopted our daughter (Lucia, adopted after a series of miscarriages) has added another complication.

"But nevertheless, you spend the rest of your life making it up to people. All the guilt buttons have been pushed."

Yet, she keeps on auditioning, and, it has to be said, hitting pay dirt. Clare's soon to be seen in a new C4 comedy, appearing alongside Andy Gray and Gary Lewis in The Smallest Game in Town.

But what's Clare Grogan's strength? It's not that performing has been without problems. Her years as lead singer of pop band Altered Images resulted in a series of law suits claiming lost royalties.

And acting hasn't always been easy. Clare, has landed some nice roles, such as in EastEnders, but she found herself jettisoned from the Red Dwarf space ship after she was deemed too old.

There's no doubt she's resilient, she's a little blonde rubber ball that keeps bouncing back. But another strength could be the fact that she recognises her weaknesses.

"I guess I've always being trying to find a way through the business. And one thing that's helped me keep going is I'm only willing to give up some of my own life."

Another seems to be the fact she hasn't set the bar too high. Clare admits she's never wanted to play Lady Macbeth. In fact, the closest she's come is once appearing in a revue show, Lady Macbeth Firmed My Buttocks.

"That's a good example," she says, grinning. "And if you're asking me have I a need to do Shakespeare the answer is no.

"I think that what happens in this business is that you gravitate towards like minded people. I have nothing against high brow people, but I don't have a yearning to do it.

"And I hate the snobbery you can find in serious theatre."

No sooner are the words out of her mouth when pragmatism kicks in.

"Don't get me wrong, it would be nice if a theatre company came to me and said they wanted me to be their leading actress. But realistically, I know that is not going to happen."

There's a warmth about the lady. But there's a tough, determined streak to her character. Clare Grogan is not a quitter.

She tells a story about appearing in a play in London three years ago, called Blessing. It was about infertility. Clare was playing the part of a woman who could have children. Yet, in her real life she was going through the realisation that she couldn't.

"That was hard," she says. "But you just do the best that you can."

It seems whatever Clare chooses to do she does with massive amounts of enthusiasm.

She's hugely enthusiastic about her latest performance, playing the sex-starved yummy mummy to 27-year-old wide boy Fox in Legit.

"I love this role," she says. "It's such great fun to work on, being this wild Glasgow mother. But the truth is I feel privileged to be doing this sort of work. After more than 25 years, I feel proud of myself to have survived in the business.

"You see, when I was young I was fairly insecure. I was a schoolgirl from Glasgow who was propelled into this living the dream situation. And it terrified me. And I panicked at the thought I couldn't be the person that people expected me to be."

Perhaps she's still trying to convince people. Regardless. Clare is delighted the way her career has turned out.

"Before Gregory's Girl my experience of showbiz was watching Top of the Pops. And then we were on it. And the fame wasn't confined to this country; it was everywhere.

"But If I'd made a shed load of money when I was younger it would have been spend, spend, spend. I would have gone nuts.

"And I think not making money has saved me."

She admits she could have made serious money doing saucy pics for lads mags. Dee Hepburn may have been picture pretty but it was Grogan who was the object of a million schoolboys' lust.

"I suppose I could have but it was bad enough I used to appear in a Scotland football top," she says, laughing.

"The guys in the band would coax me to wear it. But looking back, and the times when I wore the little puff-ball skirts, well, perhaps that was going too far."

On the subject of clothes, Clare admits reality TV holds no fascination. Except one show.

"I'd love to do Strictly Come Dancing," she says.

"I can just see myself dancing one of those sparkly dresses." Legit, BBC1, Friday, 9.30pm.