South Riding: West Leeds student’s big acting break

Charlie Clarke.
Charlie Clarke.
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from a young age Charlie Clark always dreamed of seeing herself on the big screen.

But now the West Leeds Academy student has travelled back in time for a starring role in BBC1 drama South Riding.

Charlie, 16, beat competition from other young hopefuls to bag the chance to star alongside established actors David Morissey, Penelope Wilton and John Henshaw in the Sunday night drama.

Viewers will have seen Lydia being forced to give up school following her mother’s tragic death.

Her character has then found herself slipping through society’s safety net and fallen on to hard times.

But the Shipley youngster didn’t have to venture too far for filming the series.

The drama is set against the stunning scenery of Leeds, Bradford and the Skipsea cliffs.

She was halfway through a performing arts course at the Bramley school when she landed the role while attending an acting workshop at West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Charlie told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “My mum rang me to tell me that I had the part and she was just screaming down the phone.

“I was just so shocked because it didn’t quite seem real.

“Filming was really good fun and the director helped me as well and gave me tips about imagining what has happened.

“When I first saw myself on television it was really weird and all of my friends are impressed.

“People even come up to me and say lines from the show.”

Charlie has already starred in 2008 film Clubbed and appeared as an extra on Yorkshire soap Emmerdale.

The brunette teenager even made a scrapbook that she took into school about her time on set.

She recently auditioned for a role in Shameless but narrowly missed out on the part because she was too young.

But Charlie has taken it all in her stride and hopes that the future is set to be bright.

She added: “It is definitely something that I want to go into.

“It was a great experience to audition for Shameless but you can’t get them all can you?

“I learned a lot about the 1930s while filming with South Riding and it has helped to give me the confidence to go further.”

The final episode of South Riding will be broadcast on Sunday night.

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