My first casting job was at the Royal Shakespeare Company as Deputy Casting Director in 1986. I then moved to the Theatre Royal Plymouth before going freelance and casting various West End musicals including the original London West End casts of Beauty and the Beast, Saturday Night Fever, Grand Hotel and Kiss of the Spider Woman.
I started casting for television initially for The Bill and then various drama documentaries including A Skirt Through History (produced and directed by Philippa Lowthorpe), The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth (presented by David Starkey for United television) also a feature film The Turn of the Screw starring Patsy Kensitt and some shorts and training films.
In 2001, I joined the BBC Drama Series casting department where I stayed for 18½ years.
At the BBC I cast five series of Judge John Deed with Martin Shaw, five series of Down to Earth with Pauline Quirke and Warren Clarke and one series of Being April with Pauline Quirke and Nitin Ganatra.
Other drama included The Night Watch with Claire Foy, Jodie Whittaker and Anna Maxwell Martin, One Night with Douglas Hodge, Georgina Campbell and Jessica Hynes, The Magnificent 7 with Helena Bonham Carter and Holliday Grainger, A View From A Hill and 7 Afternoon Plays.
I have also cast over 330 episodes of Holby City, and numerous episodes of Casualty, Father Brown, Shakespeare and Hathaway, The Coroner, Dalziel and Pascoe and Waking the Dead.
Drama documentaries for the BBC include 1066: A Year to Conquer England with Ed Stoppard, Royal Wives at War with Gina McGee, Kim Philby His Most Intimate Betrayal,The Riots (a verbatim piece) and most recently Should We Bomb Auschwitz? for Oxford Films
Diversity In Casting
Throughout my years casting at the BBC I put diversity at the forefront of my work and constantly challenged and fought hard to make sure that all my casting was as diverse as I could possibly make it.
I have been involved in many BBC training schemes for actors with disability, including BBC Class Act, which was a nationwide development programme to support, offer professional training and raise the profile of disabled actors. I have attended conferences about disability in casting, as well as workshops and showcases by actors with disability. This is something I feel passionate about and want to make sure that executive producers, producers and directors are all on board with me on this important and essential part of the casting process.
TV Audition Training Workshops
For the past 10 years I have been running television auditions technique workshops with final year students from RADA, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and LAMDA. This includes recreating a television audition experience, sending out sides in advance, 10 – 15 minute individual meetings with each student, taping the readings and then a Q & A follow up sessions.
Casting Training Workshops for Film and Television Schools
I will be running casting workshops in November and December 2019 at the National Film & Television School and Brighton Film School for students on the directing and producing courses.