THERE have been a great many drama queens in Parliament but not too many professional actresses, Dame Glenda Jackson having been the most notable member of that rare breed.

It’s a safe bet, too, that no other honourable member has ever acted in the Australian soap opera Home and Away, but 25 years ago that was where Deirdre Brock, the new SNP MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, could be seen on our screens.

“No one ever mentions my Chekhov or Shakespeare,” joked Brock about her brief appearance as a doctor in the soap.

Yet she happily admits that her grounding as a professional actress in her native Australia is just part of the all-round experience of life that makes her one of the more interesting politicians around.

Born in Perth in Western Australia, she gained a BA in English at John Curtin University before studying acting at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, where a certain Hugh Jackman later studied.

Her Scottish grandmother Peggy Brock hailed from Monifeith and her great uncle was born in Edinburgh, and it was Granny Peggy who emigrated to Australia but who clung to one important Scottish ritual.

“The Edinburgh Tattoo would be shown every New Year and she would sit and watch it wrapped in her Stewart tartan blanket,” said Brock, who came to Scotland for a holiday in 1995 and stayed on when she met her partner, Dougie, with whom she has two children.

While ‘resting’ between stints as an actress in Sydney she worked as a PA and in retail and at a wine club, and also a pollster for MORI – “it’s all been a good background for coming here,” said Brock, “as well as my eight years at Edinburgh Council.”

Yesterday, just as Brock and the 49 other new SNP MPs were taking their seats in the House of Commons to hear the maiden speeches of colleagues, her job as Depute Lord Provost of Edinburgh was being filled by councillor Steve Cardownie, who only stood down as SNP group and deputy council leader two months ago.

“The only inevitable things are death, taxes and Steve Cardownie being in power,” quipped the city’s Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Paul Edie.

Brock was meanwhile listening to a succession of impressive maiden speeches by the likes of Tommy Sheppard and Joanna Cherry.

“It was fun watching the faces on the benches opposite when they realised what they are now up against,” said Brock.

While at Edinburgh Council, Brock spent four years as convener of culture and sport.

She will maintain her interest in the arts, but in the meantime she has been given the job of liaising with the Scottish Government and Holyrood Parliament.

Having run the Parliamentary office of SNP MSP Ron Gibson, she knows Holyrood from the inside.

“I do have good working knowledge of the Parliament,” said Brock. “so that’s another good piece of experience for working here.”