A NEW children’s TV series set in the North-East is on the look-out for a young disabled actor to play the lead role.

Ella and Sir Whoopsalot is a project from North-East-based actress, writer and producer Kim Tserkezie, known for her role as Penny Pocket in Balamory, which tells the story of an eight-year-old disabled girl who lives in a castle and befriends a 1,000-year-old knight who only she can see.

Together they share adventures and explore the historic castle – and now the hunt is on to find a seven to nine-year-old to play Ella.

The show, aimed at children aged seven and under, is being produced by Kim’s company Scattered Pictures, which promotes inclusion and is focused on showcasing emerging and diverse talent from across the region.

Kim said: “I set up Scattered Pictures to promote North-East talent and its fabulous locations and to give meaningful work and opportunities to under-represented people, both in front of and behind the camera.

“I’m thrilled to be looking now for a young disabled girl in the North-East who could play the role of Ella.

“As a wheelchair user, when I was growing up, there were no disabled children on screen who I could identify or connect with.

“We are seeing more inclusion of disabled people in children’s programming, but in many cases, the child’s medical condition is still core to the storyline.

“Ella’s impairment will be irrelevant to the narrative. What’s more, Ella will lead the narrative, something which remains scarce on screen for disabled characters.

“She is a fun, smart and adventurous young character and this will be a great opportunity for a young disabled girl who has perhaps not even had the chance to act before.”

IMG’s production arm has signed on to produce the show, which has also been awarded development funding from the Young Audiences Content Fund at the BFI.

The team behind the series has an impressive pedigree in the film and TV industry.

Former Controller of CBeebies, Kay Benbow brings with her more than 25 years of experience in children’s broadcasting.

Under Kay’s leadership, CBeebies was awarded BAFTA Children’s Channel of the Year five times.

International Emmy Award-winning director Simon Gibney has an impressive portfolio including BBC’s Father Brown and Watson and Oliver, as well as the popular Horrible Histories series written by Terry Deary. Simon’s children’s TV credits include Universal Kids’ Moon and Me and Furchester Hotel for CBeebies.

Ella and Sir Whoopsalot was created by Newcastle-based comedy writer Bridget Deane who has worked across TV, film, radio and theatre.

She has written for ITV’s Emmerdale and her award-winning short film, The Ball, made the BAFTA 2012 longlist.

Jon Peck, Development Executive and Producer at IMG Productions, started his career at Children’s BBC and, in the past 15 years, has worked on popular programming for all of the UK’s major broadcasters.

Production could start early in 2021.

Do you know someone who could play the part of Ella? Acting experience is not essential.

For more information on applying for the role, send an email to info@ne14.tv