Rising Keighley star Sam lands role in new BBC1 drama

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sam Burles Sam Burles

Sam Burles is fast becoming a rising star of the small screen, after landing roles in two new television dramas.

The 13-year-old, from Keighley, has already completed filming for a show written and directed by Victoria Wood – and his role in that led to him being cast for a new series about the family that set up Chester Zoo.

Sam, a member of the Yorkshire School of Acting, based at the New Bradford Playhouse in Little Germany, will begin work on Our Zoo in Chester later this month. Set in the 1920s, the BBC1 drama centres on the Mottershead family who followed their dream of opening a zoo without bars.

Sam plays a boy called Norman in the six-part drama. It is his second TV role, and follows his work in Tubby and Enid, starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton.

The TV adaptation of Victoria Wood's stage play That Day We Sang, was inspired by the real-life recording of Nymphs And Shepherds by the Manchester Children's Choir in 1929. The musical play is set 40 years on, as the choir reunite for a documentary. Two of the former choristers, middle-aged insurance salesman Tubby and set-in-her-ways Enid, rekindle a relationship.

Sam plays a young chorister in flashback scenes. He landed the role after auditioning in front of Victoria Wood.

Matthew Zina, head of drama at the Yorkshire School of Acting, sent him for the audition after spotting his talent.

He said: "Ever since I first met Sam, just a year and a half ago, while I was directing a summer school show, I spotted his potential. It wasn't just his enigmatic performance, it was his dedication and the charm he emitted while acting.

“I have sent him for three professional auditions; two he has got and one we are still waiting to hear about! Sam is very grounded and takes it all in his stride. All his fellow performers are extremely proud of him, and so am I as his drama coach and his agent.”

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