Youngsters land roles in hit series Downton Abbey

Brandon Pohlhammer, Nyah Braisby and Morgan Smith. Picture by Kelly O' Shaughnessy
Brandon Pohlhammer, Nyah Braisby and Morgan Smith. Picture by Kelly O' Shaughnessy

A GROUP of young aspiring actors and actresses have landed roles in the hit series Downton Abbey.

Nyah Braisby, Sophie Apthorp, Louis Selling, Morgan Smith, Brandon Pohlhammer and Harry Seymour, aged from eight to 11, who all study at The Hastings Stage Studio, are featured in the fifth series.

Two of the boys landed roles as choir boys in Downton Abbey and have been filming in the last three weeks with Dame Maggie Smith, best known for playing Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter movies.

Vanessa Pohlhammer, director of J & V Management and The Hastings Stage Studio, said: “The students play children in the local village school, and two were also choir boys filming with Dame Maggie Smith, reporting that they were thrilled to work with Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter!”

“We are very proud of our children as they are all very talented. Downton Abbey is a fantastic thing to do.”

The period drama depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era from 1912.

Youngsters from 1066 Country have worked on quite a few major movies of late.

Last year, 10-year-old Harry Parkinson, of St Leonards, played the butchers’ son in the recently released Monuments Men with George Clooney, Bill Murray and Matt Damon.

Thirteen pupils from The Hastings Stage Studio were also in The Imitation Game with Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch, playing evacuees in war-torn London where they had lots of fun and loved working with the stars of the film.

The local children, aged nine to 11, chosen for this film were Sophie Apthorp, Nyah Braisby, Oscar Hatton, Louise Holland, Bethany Marshall, Millie Mepham, Emily Morgan-Owen, Harry Parkinson, Brandon Pohlhammer, Eva Pomery, Harry Seymour, Leah Slater, and Bethany Tuff.

Eva said: “We were surprised at how itchy and uncomfortable some of the authentic clothes, shoes and gas masks were that our grandparents or great-grandparents might have worn at our age. It was so sad the way our characters were taken away from their families during the war.”

Nyah and Bethany were lucky enough to be cast in the sequel to Daniel Radcliffe’s thriller The Woman in Black.

Vanessa added: “We also have two of our younger students who finished filming just before Christmas in the movie of Steven Hawkings’ life called Theory of Everything. We were very proud of six-year-old Raffiella Chapman who played Steven Hawkings’ daughter Lucy, while Brandon Pohlhammer played his nephew, opposite Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. This movie is due out in 2015 pre-Oscar season.”

“We have nine of our senior students filming this week in the movie Testament of Youth, starring Hayley Atwell of Captain America fame, and Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones. They are filming on the Oxford Campus playing students during the First World War. These local actors aged 17 to 26 include Ruby Chadwick, Andrew Fletcher, Rory Francis, Molly Hemsley, Hannah Maryan, Ross McCarthy, Liam McKean, Simon Meeson, Kelly O’Shaughnessy and Amy Sorrell.