Currently starring in the TV adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather, Isabel Clifton plays the lead role, with all five series airing on CBBC over the past few years. During her time in the show so far, Isabel has had the chance to work with Hacker T. Dog on CBBC HQ and has also attended an award ceremony where Hetty Feather was nominated. Recently, Isabel told us about filming with Hacker, working on a CBBC show and her time so far starring as Hetty Feather.
How did it feel booking the role of Hetty Feather?
It was such an exciting time! I got told on my Birthday that I had booked the role! I always say that it was the best birthday ever!
What do you remember from auditioning for the part?
I remember being very nervous! We had to learn a script for two scenes. When I first got called back for a second audition, I then learnt another scene and from then on I got asked to read extracts from the book itself and the directors and producers asked me to do different things in each audition. I even got asked to tell a joke in one of the auditions!
What was it like watching yourself on screen as Hetty Feather for the first time?
It was very strange, at first I really didn’t like it but as time’s gone on I’ve gotten more used to it, but sometimes I have a split second where I think it’s crazy and I can’t believe it!
When getting your script through, how do you approach learning your lines?
I always read through the whole script first to make sure I fully understand the storyline first and then I go through and highlight all my lines, and approach the scene one by one and get my parents to read in the other characters when I’m practicing.
What do you enjoy about being the lead star in a CBBC show?
I love the fact that I get the opportunity to go on other shows such as Blue Peter and do crossover episodes with The Dumping Ground! Also, I’ve had the opportunity to be a guest on some game shows, they are always so fun to film and be a part of.
Have you attended any of the award ceremonies that Hetty Feather has been nominated at?
Yes! I’ve been lucky enough to go to the Children’s BAFTA Awards, which was amazing, where Hetty Feather was nominated for Best Drama!
What’s it like being at CBBC HQ alongside Hacker?
Hacker is absolutely crazy, and I love going to the CBBC HQ. When you’re live on air you never know what’s going to happen when you’re filming with Hacker! But it’s always super fun.
How has it been growing up on a CBBC show?
It’s very surreal when I think about it as when I was growing up I would always watch CBBC and now I’m a part of one of the shows. I’ve had so many opportunities because of Hetty Feather which I am so grateful for and Hetty is a great first character to play, she has become a part of me!
Can you tell us about your training at Singer Stage School?
I started training there when I was ten and when I first joined I was very shy and didn’t have a lot of experience, but over the last seven years of training, I’ve become more confident and tried to build on my skills. Every week we focus on dancing, singing and acting, so it’s great to build on all three of these skills! Also, the friends I have made at the stage school have become some of my closest friends and we are all one big family.
How long have you wanted to be an actress?
I started dancing when I was two so I’ve always been interested in performing arts but as I started taking more drama lessons I became more interested in acting and musical theatre work and when I auditioned for Hetty Feather I realised just how much I enjoyed it.
We understand you have appeared in a short film called Honey, can you say more about this?
Yes, I did! I played a character called Riley, who is very intelligent and is fascinated by science and wildlife. The film has a bit of a dark storyline. Riley’s mother has passed away and she finds it hard to let go of her and therefore preserves her in a bathtub of honey. But she doesn’t realise how wrapped up she has become in the death until her friend discovers the body and says she will help her. It was a great character to play and I really enjoyed filming it as it was a challenge for me to play such a dark character. I learnt lots from the short film.
What do you enjoy doing away from filming and training?
In my spare time I really just like to relax and hang out with my friends. I also love to play with my dog, he is the cutest!
What are your plans for summer?
This summer I’m going to some music festivals with my friends, which is so exciting!
Do you have any advice for young actors hoping to land a role like Hetty Feather?
My best tips would be to try and go to as many performing arts classes as possible to gain more experience. Also, practice makes perfect so take every opportunity to learn something new and gain more skills! And the most important one, have fun!
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