One Welsh schoolboy has been thrown into the public eye after getting a lead part on a Sky1 television show. Justin Davies, from Brynmawr, is now known by sitcom fans across the country after gaining a starring role in Ruth Jones’s new show, Stella.
The new comedy programme is set in the South Wales Valleys and follows the life of single mother Stella, played by Ruth Jones, and her family in their everyday lives.
Justin, a Brynmawr Foundation School pupil, was given the part of Ruth’s on-screen son, Ben, after auditioning for the role in November 2010.
He said: “I did a short film with the BBC’s It’s My Shout called Be a Man, then the casting director of Stella asked me to audition after seeing me in the film.
“The first audition was just in front of the casting director, but Ruth was at the second audition, which was scary. I didn’t expect her to be there.”
Justin was also shocked when he got the part to work alongside Ruth Jones, he said: “It’s all been a bit mad, I was never really into drama, but to be working someone like Ruth is great. She is a really good onscreen mother and makes sure she talks to everyone.”
The 15-year-old has enjoyed playing his character Ben over the past ten episodes, and thinks he has a few things in common with the character. “I suppose we are a bit alike, I like rugby and the character does, but I do think he is a bit smarter than me, he seems to be better in school then I am,” he added.
During the filming of series one, which began in February 2011, Justin missed two or three days of school a week. The young actor, who is now in year 11, said: “I didn’t miss a lot so I caught up with my schoolwork quickly, but it is my GCSE year now so it might be a bit harder.”
Since starting the show Justin’s friends and family have been behind him all the way. He said: “My friends think it’s really good and they have started calling me Ben after my character. Everyone has been really supportive and my mother keeps saying how proud she is of me.”
Natalie Jones, drama teacher at Brynmawr Foundation School, said: “This is an outstanding achievement for Justin. He has always been a naturally talented student within drama lessons and this was one of the reasons he got put forward for BBC It's My Shout.
“He is an extremely hardworking student in drama, and I hope this success continues for him and he achieves his ambition in making a career in acting. I am extremely proud when I watch him every Friday evening.”
Justin is now looking forward to getting back on set and is due to begin filming on April 30. “It’s good being on the set and everyone is really nice, all of the cast and crew are really friendly. It’s like a family atmosphere,” he said.