IT was a case of 'back to school' for young Bradford performers when they landed roles in TV drama Ackley Bridge.

Filmed in Halifax, the Channel 4 series is set in a Yorkshire town with a divided white and Asian population. When two schools are merged to form a new academy, pupils who have led separate lives must learn to share a classroom.

Students aged 11-18 from Bradford-based Articulate Speech, Drama & Casting joined a cast headed by Jo Joyner, Adil Ray, Paul Nicholls and Sunetra Sarker.

"The students very much enjoyed the experience of filming, especially with it being so local," said Articulate principal Stacey Dyson. "They said there was a real buzz about filming, as the show was dubbed ‘the next Waterloo Road’, and cast and crew were friendly.

"For Maya Khan, who attends our Gomersal drama classes in Bradford, it was her first time filming. Articulate had previously secured her an audition for hit BBC sitcom Citizen Khan starring Adil Ray, unfortunately she narrowly missed out, but in Ackley Bridge she got to meet Adil, her favourite TV star, as well as other noteworthy actors."

Added Stacey: "Some students were spotted by producers and directors, while undertaking extra work, and were given featured roles. Melissa Haggarty, 17, from Bradford, has since gone on to land a role in Parade for Open Palm Films, currently shooting in the district.

Articulate Kids student Melissa Johns-Watson said: “The sets were so interesting, they used a real former school. It was amazing to see the behind-the-scenes action like lighting rigs, cameras and sound equipment and watching scenes unfold in front of us."

Ed Cooke underwent an audition process through Stage 84 in Idle. "One of the auditions was at the filming location, back when it was still a hollow building. Returning to film when it was transformed into Ackley Bridge College was fascinating," he said. "Every time I went I discovered a new set - an upstairs corridor became a police station over a weekend. Our director encouraged us to improvise; my scenes included a full day of rugby and cheering on a fight.

"I'll never forget being doused in melted chocolate every morning to mimic mud from a PE lesson!"