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How TikTok videos and Scouse comedy characters changed BBC Ambulance star Katie’s life

2 years ago

By The Guide Liverpool

How TikTok videos and Scouse comedy characters changed BBC Ambulance star Katie’s life

She might be a familiar face from BBC1’s fly-on-the-wall series, Ambulance…

But Katie Rolston is now getting an audience of her own with thousands of fans and followers on social media thanks to her hilarious Scouse comedy sketches and characters like Tracey and Sharon, and Slimmin’ World leader, Joyce.

The 38-year-old ambulance dispatcher from Croxteth Park started her comedy skits at the start of lockdown and in just over two years has become a massive favourite with almost 43,000 followers on TikTok, 6,000 on Instagram and, in a matter of weeks, a staggering 30,000 on Facebook.

Katie says: “It’s great that so many people are enjoying them.

“It’s quite overwhelming to be honest – my friends at work skit me saying ‘ooh here’s the TikTok star’ – but I love that people are liking them and I can give them a laugh.”

And she adds: “It’s given me a passion. And I know it sounds like a cliché, but it’s changed my life.”

Mum-of-two Katie, who joined North West Ambulance Service 10 years ago, firstly as a call handler and then as an emergency medical dispatcher, had never even heard of TikTok when her ex-partner showed her a video and reckoned she should start giving it a go.

“And once I’d heard about TikTok, I couldn’t help but want to do my own thing on it. I needed to be who I love being, which is observing the characteristics of people and taking everybody off.

“I wasn’t getting anywhere at first, but I persevered. My sister was probably my biggest fan, howling at all my sketches, and she said to me one day ‘Katie, don’t give up with it because I just think they’re brilliant’. And that was it,” says Katie, aka @katierol.

“Once people started saying ‘Oh My God, where have you been?’, I was made up.”

Katie’c character Tony

Katie has always been an ‘actor’, and although she left a performing arts degree course at Edge Hill University when she was younger, it remained in her blood: “I’d go and watch a theatre show and be fighting back tears because it was what I’d wanted to do and I felt I’d lost my chance,” she admits.

“When I realised I could do my own characters and stuff on TikTok, and then create my own storylines, it all started coming out.

“I’ve always taken off my family – especially my mum and my sister – in jest, and if I see people with different mannerisms or anything, I’m fascinated.”

Katie’s videos were more basic at first but once she she’d mastered the art of editing, she was off: “I’d have an idea come into my head and record it. I made a lot up on the spot, there was a bit of improv, and then I started writing things down in a book.

“After I while I started building on characters like Tracey and created storylines which just grew.”

Katie’s character Slimmin World leader Joyce

So where does she get her ideas?

“Tracey is a bit of my geekier side, when you do things wrong and have too much to drink on nights out,” Katie grins, “or friends tell you what you’ve done.  She’s a little bit of me, my sister and my mum!

“Shaz is the serious one, the straight man to Tracey’s comedy. The scouse lads that came into my videos are ones I’ve watched and grown up with. 

“I guess they’re all people you see in town or in work every day, because I wanted it to be like real life. That’s why there are stories about Slimmin’ World because we’re all trying to lose weight, or dating because we’re all looking for love, or going to the doctor’s. They’re things that we can all relate to.

“Tracey, for instance, says things you might be thinking but wouldn’t dream of telling anyone. It’s good because you think you’re on your own but then you see these videos and think ‘that’s me’.  We’ve all got our inner geek person, and there’s a massive part of me in there.”

Katie has now created more than 200 videos which she is now uploading for new fans on Facebook, before getting back to creating more new material.

“I have surprised myself to be honest. People have suggested I do stand-up but I’m not sure about that, that’s a scary thought, but I would love to do TV work or write a comedy novel.”


Such has been Katie’s success she’s now got her own range of merchandise with mugs and sweatshirts with sayings made popular by her characters, like Tracey’s Buzzin’ or Satdee Night, and Joyce’s ‘Something’s got to give…and I don’t mean your waistline’.

And there’s another reason why becoming a comedy queen in her own city has ‘changed my life’.

“I lost a friend in lockdown,” reveals Katie. “Helen McIver was someone I worked with at North West Ambulance Service and over eight years we became the best of friends.

“Helen was only 32 when she died from cervical cancer in April 2020, and I became really low. It tore me apart and I lost myself.

“I threw myself into the comedy and it became my therapy, a way to cope, and I even used it to highlight the importance of having smears and people getting over the embarrassment or fear of them.”

She adds: “More recently with what’s been going on in the city, people have said I’ve been a welcome tonic, or that they’ve been depressed and I’ve made them smile. A sense of humour gets us through a lot, and being able to make people laugh is a great talent to have.

“That’s why I want to keep on doing it.”

Follow Katie on Tik Tok HERE.


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