Actress Miriam Margolyes says she hates playing lesbians because she fears her female co-stars will assume she fancies them.

The 69-year-old star, who played Professor Sprout in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, said: “I don’t like playing lesbians. I am a lesbian, but I don’t like playing them.

“I loath kissing women on stage or on screen. Absolutely loathe it. And I’ll tell you why, it’s because I don’t want them to think that I fancy them.”

In 2008, the actress revealed that she regretted telling her late mother about her sexuality.

Margolyes said her mother Ruth suffered a stroke three days after her announcement in 1967.

“I now regret it because it caused the person I loved the most pain she could not bear. And I have to take the responsibility for that,” she said.

“I should have been aware that to tell her was very wrong.”