Joanna Lumley has turned her back on acting to become a TV director, making her debut with a short film about her own life, Sky1 drama Little Crackers.

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The Absolutely Fabulous star has enjoyed a 45-year career in front of the camera, but “loved the power” of stepping behind it.

She said: “The great joy was steering the ship just the way you wanted it to be. I loved the power.

“All that it’s done is to whet my appetite. Now I would rather direct than act.

“The funny thing is that, as an actor, you suddenly realise that, although we’re creative we are interpretive, whereas in directing you are actually creating.”

Little Crackers is the first in a three-part series of short films where stars recreate scenes from their youth. Lumley’s episode tells how she got into modelling as a 19 year old.

In the show, Lumley – played by Ottilie Mackintosh, who portrays a young version of the actress – feels insecure about her looks, and covers up her cropped locks with a long blonde wig, before arguing with a smarmy photographer.

Lumley, 66, has a short cameo in the show as a magazine editor.

She explained: “The story is based on my life as a model in the 60s and it was fascinating and thrilling to see the London scene I knew then being recreated before my eyes.

“I loved every minute of it.”

Speaking of when she came face to face with Ottilie as herself, she added to The Sun: “It was extraordinary – like me then all over again.”