With Malory Towers returning this year for their fourth series, April V Woods joined the cast having taken over the role of Felicity Rivers. April’s character Felicity has started at Malory Towers in the first form, where her sister Darrell Rivers (played by Ella Bright) is Head of Lower School, and the Enid Blyton adaptation can be seen on BBC iPlayer, having recently aired on CBBC. Earlier this year, April appeared in an episode of Shadow and Bone as Saskia, and has previously played Imogen in Series 2 of Gangs of London and was in the cast of Breeders. Currently, April is filming for an unannounced Disney+ series, and she is represented by Alphabet Management. Chatting with us, April told us about playing Felicity Rivers in Malory Towers, working with her on-screen sister Ella Bright and filming other projects including Gangs of London and the upcoming Disney+ series.
How was it joining the cast of Series 4 of Malory Towers and taking over the role of Felicity Rivers?
Joining the series of Malory Towers was one of the most incredible yet nerve-racking things to have happened to me. Of course, at first, I was very nervous to take on the role of Felicity Rivers, but everyone was so welcoming and so kind that all the nerves went away. It is a huge privilege to get to play the role of Felicity, and I can’t wait to continue on with her journey.
Had you seen the series or read the Enid Blyton books before auditioning and how was it finding out you’d booked the role?
I hadn’t heard of Malory Towers before getting the audition, although I had read other Enid Blyton books, they never sparked a huge interest in me. However, after receiving the audition I watched the series, read the books and realised how incredible the stories are. When I found out I had actually got the role (after four auditions), I was over the moon! It was the most exciting thing I’ve ever experienced and I will never forget it.
What is Felicity like to play and how would you describe the character?
Felicity is very fun to play, she has lots of interesting scenes where she is messing around, but can also be very serious. I would describe her as empathetic, funny and very easily led by her peers.
How is it filming alongside your on-screen sister Ella Bright and the rest of the cast?
Filming alongside Ella and the other cast members was amazing! They are an incredible group of people and are like a second family to me. Ella is a great on-screen sister, and I can’t imagine anyone playing her better!
Did you have a favourite scene/episode to film in Series 4 and how was it filming on location?
Some of my favourite scenes to film from Series 4 would be the snake scene, in Episode 1 where I got to hold a snake, the pool scene as I got to jump into the water and the secret rooms scenes, the set was incredibly made, and the attention to detail was so impressive!
What are you enjoying most about being part of the Malory Towers series and working with CBBC?
What I’m enjoying most is the love we get from fans. Whether it’s on social media or in person, they have been incredibly supportive and are so lovely!! Also, the friendships I have made on set with the other first formers!!
In March, you appeared in an episode of Shadow and Bone as Saskia, what was this like to film?
Shadow and Bone was so much fun to film. I got to go to Budapest for a week and met incredible people, the other cast members from my scene were so friendly and very welcoming and I was lucky enough to bump into Jessie Mei Li, who was lovely! While I wasn’t working, I had a great time – I went swimming and hung out with my co-star Fflyn (Edwards), and explored the beautiful Budapest. Shadow and Bone was one of the best things I’ve done so far, and I will never forget the experience.
Can you tell us about your character Imogen in Gangs of London and how was your time filming for Series 2?
My character from Gangs of London, Imogen, was a young girl. Daughter of someone who was murdered in the series. She was very fun to play as the show was completely opposite to my other work. I got to ride a horse for the series, so I got horse riding lessons in preparation, which was fun, and I met the horse that appears in the Lloyds Bank adverts and The Crown! Gangs of London was my first TV role other than adverts, and it was so exciting to film, (sadly they cut the horse riding scene, but never mind, lol).
What was it like being part of the TV series Breeders?
Being part of the Breeders series was very cool! I met Martin Freeman, who is in my favourite Christmas film – Nativity!, so that was exciting!!! And lots of other talented actors. Although it was only a small appearance in the show, everyone was very respectful and very nice on set. Being a part of the series was magical.
We understand you are currently working on a Disney+ series, how is filming going and is there anything you can tell us about it?
Although I can’t share anything about filming for the Disney+ series, the filming is going very well and is one of the most exciting projects I’ll ever work on. I can’t wait for it to come out and to share my character with everyone!!
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
The way I got into acting was very random. I knew a boy in my class at school did acting and had appeared in a few commercials, I decided that was something I wanted to do as well. So our parents started talking and I auditioned to get into my agency – Alphabet Management. I did a few acting courses and joined a theatre drama group and auditioned for many projects – for the first year hearing nothing. Eventually, I got the Cadbury Easter advert, then others followed and I slowly worked my way up to TV series, the roles getting bigger each time! My journey took time but was so worth it. I was about eight years old when I decided I wanted to be an actor, I know now that acting is something I intend on doing for the rest of my life.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch?
A show that I really enjoy is The Vampire Diaries. I also really love the Marvel universe, my personal favourite is the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie! I cannot wait to see more of my favourite franchises come out later this year.
How do you like to spend your time away from acting?
Away from acting, I focus on my education, as my school is very much an academic-focused school. I also enjoy netball, and one of my favourite things is playing the guitar. I play both electric and acoustic, and the ukulele – but just for fun, I do guitar properly and have just taken my grade 3 exam.
Do you have any projects coming up that you can say about and what are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
I have a couple of projects coming up this year, but they are all very much secret, I just can’t wait to share them with everyone. I’m hoping this year will bring me lots of exciting work and lots of fun too!
Malory Towers Series 4 is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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