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Jessica's big break, aged two
By David Morgan
SOME actors have to wait years to get their big break.
But two-year-old Jessica Parkin will be appearing alongside Mad Dogs’ Philip Glenister and Lord of the Rings’ Bernard Hill in a major BBC drama.
Little Jessica, from Hatton, is to play Ella, Philip’s granddaughter and Bernard’s great granddaughter in a dramatisation of the Manchester bombing.
From There To Here begins in June 1996 on the day that an IRA bomb destroyed much of the city centre and is told through the eyes of two families.
Lee Parkin, Jessica’s dad, said: “I’m excited. It’s her first role as a cast member in a big drama for the BBC.”
Creator Peter Bowker, who wrote Occupation, shot the scenes in Mere and Rochdale between August and October.
Lee was able to watch his daughter on set and was impressed by her star treatment.
The 34-year-old added: “I didn’t expect Jessica to have her own trailer with her name on it and there were lights all around her mirror. I was probably more starstruck than she was.
“To see the actors walking around was quite surreal especially Bernard Hill who has been in Lord of the Rings and was the captain of the Titanic.
“The cast members were really great with Jessica. They put her at ease which helped prepare her for the pressure quite well.
“She had to do the same scenes over and over again to get it right so it was becoming like second nature.”
Jessica, who has also done modelling for Littlewoods, got the part through Warrington agency EuroKids which she has been a member of since she was three months old.
The agency has had the likes of Coronation Street’s Michelle Keegan on its books.
From There To Here will chart how Manchester changed over four years from the aftermath of the bomb to New Labour sweeping to power in 1997 and Millennium celebrations in 2000.
Lee, who lives in Hatton with his wife Ellen and daughters Jessica and Olivia, aged four, said: “I left school in 1996 so it’s rolling back the years for me.
“I was going to go shopping in Manchester that day but my brother and I decided to play football instead.
“A couple of our friends had gone to Manchester that day and we didn’t know if they were going to come back.
“We couldn’t believe it. We used to go to the Arndale Centre all the time so it felt very close to home.
“But it some respects it made Manchester stronger and led to the regeneration of the city centre.”
The three-part series, directed by Broadchurch’s James Strong, is expected to air in March.
Creator Peter Bowker added: "I wanted to write a love letter to Manchester – warts and all – and to do it through a family saga that captured something of the city's pace, life and humour.”
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