A trio of talented teenagers are celebrating helping The Dumping Ground to a top TV award – in their first season starring in the hit show.
The CBBC programme, filmed in and around the North East, has just been named ‘Best Drama’ at Royal Television Society Awards for the North East and Border.
Young actors Josh Sangha, James MacLaurin and Will Talbot have all appeared in series seven of the programme – which is currently airing – thanks to the region’s biggest casting agency NE14.TV.
Despite never having acted before Josh, from Washington, landed the part of ‘Sid’ thanks to a chance email to his dad Davinder, who was registered with the agency.
Josh, 12, has proven a huge success on the show, and has already been asked back to star in the next series, due to begin filming in April.
Dad Davinder, 46, said: “I signed up to be a supporting artist with NE1 4.TV years ago, and I happened to see an email from them saying The Dumping Ground were looking for someone his age.
“He had never really done any acting before, but I emailed back and he ended up getting an audition, and then getting the part! I am very proud of him and what he has achieved.”
Josh added: “It was very strange, going from doing nothing acting-wise to being on TV!
“I have loved every second of my experience so far, I really want to keep going! Getting an offer to appear in the next series of The Dumping Ground is just amazing.
“I want to thank the casting agency for helping me get to where I am. I am really excited to see where it leads.”
NE1 4.TV, based in Ouseburn, Newcastle, represents thousands of actors, supporting artists, dancers, models and even animals across the North East.
As well The Dumping Ground, it has provided supporting artists for hit shows including ITV’s Vera, CBBC’s Danny and Mick, Netflix hit Frontier, and Ken Loach films I, Daniel Blake and the forthcoming Sorry We Missed You.
James, 15, from Durham, started working in musical theatre before going on to supporting artist (extras) roles through NE1 4.TV, and eventually landing the role of ‘Hayden’ on The Dumping Ground.
He said: “NE1 4.TV have got me a lot of little parts – they have been great. After the musical theatre stuff they got me lots of supporting artist gigs and then this came along!
“I used to watch The Dumping Ground when I was younger, so I jumped at the chance of appearing in it. I feel so lucky to have got this sort of opportunity and have this experience at such a young age.”
A sentiment shared by Will, who plays ‘Ross’ on the programme. The 14-year-old, from Sunderland, added: “This is the first scripted acting I have done and it has been an amazing, life-changing experience.
“I want to do acting full-time, so for me to be able to be in something like The Dumping Ground now is fantastic, it has given me a great start in the industry.”
The Dumping Ground started life as a spin-off from ‘Tracey Beaker Returns’, in 2012, and has since won a host of accolades.
Its latest gong came at the 2019 RTS Awards at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead on Saturday February 23rd.
NE1 4.TV owner Bessie Williams said: “We are really proud of the boys and what they have achieved!
“NE1 4.TV is here to give these sorts of opportunities to people who might normally not get them, and all three boys have grabbed theirs with both hands and have done amazingly well.
“We are really pleased to be working with an RTS award-winning drama such as Dumping Ground. It is great to have ”