The Welsh hills will soon be alive with the Sound of Music - and Pembrokeshire's Connie Fisher will be returning to her roots in her signature role of Maria.

Connie was at the Wales Millennium Centre yesterday (Tuesday) for the formal launch of the tour of The Sound of Music, which begins its run in Cardiff next July.

Although she has resisted roles in other big-production musicals like Mary Poppins and Cabaret, deciding that the parts weren't the right second move for her, she couldn't resist returning as Maria - the role that made her famous after she won Andrew Lloyd Webber's How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria TV show two years ago.

"I so wanted to have the complete Sound of Music experience, and couldn't bear anyone else to do it. Now I will be able to say, 'Done that, got the T-shirt'.

"It's my baby and I wanted to bring it back to Wales," she said, though this won't be a rehash of the Palladium production, but a revival, she emphasised.

"It will be no less of a spectacle than the Palladium production, all the technical and special effects will still be included. David Ian and the Really Useful Group will still be moving mountains."

Connie's next move after Maria was a role in a TV drama to be shown over Christmas about a mad Elvis fan called Caught in a Trap and a three-month stint in Neil Simon's They're Playing Our Song at the Meniere Chocolate Factory, with Alistair McGowan.

"It was a fringe production, but brought me back in touch with an audience, I learned so much in those three months."

Connie has also recorded her second album to be released on February 23rd next year - 12 months to the day that she left the Palladium production of the Sound of Music.

She has also made the crossover to the silver screen, appearing in a short film called The Wedding Dress to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

But Connie has her sights firmly set on a job a little closer to home: "I would really, really love to be a Doctor Who assistant. It would be my dream job."

Playing Maria again will also bring Connie back to Wales: "One of the reasons I so wanted to do this is because I got massive, massive support from Pembrokeshire when I was doing the Maria TV show, much co-ordinated by my friend Andrew Mathias. I didn't always appreciate how much, locked away in my Maria bubble, but now I'm overwhelmed by it.

"I got sackloads of letters from people supporting me, but who said they could not make it to the Palladium, so it will be wonderful for my Pembrokeshire supporters to be able to come to see me in Cardiff, which is a much easier trip."

Also coming up over Christmas, Connie will be doing Bargain Hunt and a celebrity Who Wants to Be A Millionaire with fellow musical star Jonathon Ansell.

"I was tragic. I didn't even know my own name. I never want to go through that torture again. Who Wants to Be A Millionaire - I don't!" she says."

The Sound of Music opens at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff on July 26th until August 29th and will be directed by Jeremy Sams.