Soap Opera Digest - - LATE-BREAKING NEWS -

■ Patrika Darbo re­turns to B&B this week as Shirley. “Shirley is back to sup­port Sally in her For­rester de­but,” shares the ac­tress. “I’m so grate­ful to come back be­cause it’s like hav­ing a whole other fam­ily here. Brad [Bell, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer/head writer] was so gen­er­ous to have Shirley come back for this, and I just adore Court­ney [Hope, Sally]. Wait un­til you see this fash­ion show. You are go­ing to see some sexy men in some sexy things, too, so there’s a lit­tle some­thing for ev­ery­one.”

Darbo was dou­bly thrilled to be pre­sent when a preg­nant Jac­que­line Macinnes Wood (St­effy) strut­ted down the run­way in lin­gerie and re­vealed her baby bump. “I don’t want to start to cry right now,” Darbo smiles. “Just to be in­vited back was lovely, but when Jac­qui an­nounced her preg­nancy to ev­ery­one, it was such a sweet fam­ily mo­ment. I was so thrilled to be there for it. I can’t be­lieve how beau­ti­ful she looks in that lin­gerie! Honey, some of the stuff she was wear­ing would fit one of my legs, but she was just gor­geous in it. Un­be­liev­able. It was just won­der­ful.”

Darbo, last seen as Shirley in Fe­bru­ary, has been busy in her time away. “I went off to Canada to do a new Puppy Star Christ­mas movie, and that will be out on Net­flix for Thanks­giv­ing. It will be fun, and no one will know it’s me be­cause it stars these cute talk­ing dogs.”

She has also been hard at work try­ing to cor­rect the rules of sub­mis­sion for NATAS, the East Coast-based Na­tional Acad­emy of Arts & Sciences, which runs the Day­time Em­mys. The ac­tress made head­lines in June when she was stripped of the award she won in April for THE BAY. “It’s re­ally sad, be­cause there are a lot of ac­tors who are do­ing won­der­ful work, and NATAS just kicked us un­der the rug like it didn’t hap­pen,” she sighs. “As a Per­form­ers Gov­er­nor [for ATAS, the West Coast-based Acad­emy of Tele­vi­sion Arts & Sciences], I find that wor­ri­some. You need to take care of the er­rors and I don’t think that the TV Acad­emy here [in L.A.], which is a sep­a­rate en­tity, or the four soaps, have asked for too much. There’s a prob­lem with the way things are vet­ted. So, those are a cou­ple of things that have been oc­cu­py­ing my time at this mo­ment.”

Darbo is also hop­ing that Shirley will be oc­cu­py­ing more of her time with the hol­i­days fast ap­proach­ing. “That would be nice,” she says. “I’m not sure what the writ­ers have in store but I’m just glad they’re keep­ing Sally Spec­tra alive, for Dar­lene’s [Con­ley, ex-sally] sake. It keeps her in the spot­light there, and I think that’s just won­der­ful.”

“I’m so grate­ful to come back.”

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