Casting on the Net for Fame school

16th July 1999 at 01:00
FROM Emmerdale to Hollywood, pupils at a Leeds comprehensive are set on the road to stardom.

Intake high school - which boasts Scary Spice Mel G among its ex-pupils - wants to make superstars of all its pupils.

The Leeds school, which gained specialist arts college status last year, has set up its own casting agency to help pupils to find singing, dancing or acting work.

Deputy head Gary Stuart said: "We are always getting asked for pupils to appear as extras in soaps like Emmerdale, which is filmed near us. Having film crews and casting agents wandering the corridors is part of life here.

"They turn up and make requests which sound quite awful. Like 'we want a short, fat, ugly boy or tall, skinny, blonde girl'. Fortunately our pupils can handle it. They are trained to know how the industry works."

Now instead of clogging up the school's corridors, casting agents with a special pin number can log on and look through a catalogue of pupils' CVs and pictures.

The school, set in a sprawling council estate in the deprived Bramley area, aims to give working-class children "a way out".

Mr Stuart claims he can't switch on the TV nowadays without seeing a former pupil. Other well-known pupils include actor Steven Waddington - nominated for an Oscar after starring alongside Daniel Day-Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans, Angela Griffin, alias Fiona in Coronation Street and comedy star Gulvinder Gear, from Goodness Gracious Me.

His greatest reward comes when former pupil luminaries call him up to say hello, and still call him Sir. "That's nice," he said.

Intake's website can be found at www.intakehsac.Leeds.sch.uk

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