Since the start of CBBC’s Lagging in 2021, Yoni Bronks has played co-lead character Sol, continuing in the role for this year’s release of Series 2 (all episodes currently streaming on BBC iPlayer), and Yoni is preparing to reprise Sol with the show having been announced to return for a further series. Yoni has been a guest on CBBC’s Saturday Mash-Up, and along with playing Sol in Lagging, he has filmed for commercials and was in the cast of last year’s feature film The Magic Flute. We caught up with Yoni, who answered our questions about playing Sol in CBBC’s Lagging, being a guest on Saturday Mash-Up and what it’s like working on commercials.
Can you tell us about the CBBC series Lagging and your character Sol, and was there anything that drew you to the show?
Lagging is a comedy about a group of friends who get up to all sorts of adventures. They all play online and hang out in real life. The scripts are so funny and there’s something for everyone (even adults) so it’s amazing fun to work on.
I love gaming and I really enjoy hanging out with my friends so it was an easy choice when I was offered the role!
What is Sol like to play and do you remember how you felt finding out you’d booked the role?
Sol is great to play – the casting director did a great job! I’m a lot like Sol (but maybe a little less bossy!). He likes to think he’s in charge – and mostly he is. The team look up to him but also know he can fly off the handle if things don’t go his way. He’s a very kind, and sometimes over-emotional character which also adds to the fun!
This was my first big role – I remember being on Zoom with the Lagging production team. I think the producer and series creator was on the call too. It was exciting but I was a little nervous. I was recalled four days later then offered the job. I was so excited. My agent called my dad and told him the news whilst he was at work and apparently he was speechless (he normally isn’t!) but when I got home from school and he told me I had the job I just couldn’t believe it. I thought he was winding me up!
What is it like on set of the series and how is it working with the rest of the cast?
It’s really great on set – we all have our gaming desks in our respective bedrooms. I have the best set (of course!), it’s the most amazing gaming basement with loads of cool lighting and a sofa! All the gang gather at Sol’s for snacks in the show. We love this because it means we have to eat loads of snacks and if we have to take more than one take it means we get even more 😃.
It’s really busy but fun – there’s lots of people running around – props, wardrobe, cameras, lighting and sound people, all busy doing their job. The set soon fills up with people!
Everyone in the cast is great – we’ve been together on set for a couple of seasons now, and we all keep in touch when we’re not shooting.
How is it having the show air on CBBC and seeing the completed episodes for the first time?
It’s very cool having the show on TV – the first series all dropped on BBC iPlayer on the same day so we all sat watching ten episodes back to back, which meant it was a very late night for me and my family! It was amazing how it all came together. We shot Season 1 with COVID restrictions so it was amazing we managed to make it look so good. Season 2 was so much more fun because we could sit and play together on and off set – and this really shows in the final episodes.
It’s really an odd feeling watching myself on TV and I really can see how my acting has gotten better over the seasons. I am very critical of myself!
Do you have a favourite aspect of filming as Sol and how has it been hearing the viewers’ response to Lagging?
I really love working with everyone – it’s so cool to see how things come together. I really like to know what everyone does and how they all play a part. Everyone is part of a great team – from prop people right up to the executive producers. Without this great team, the show wouldn’t be as good as it is. Everyone makes everyone else work better and there’s a lot of care and love in the room! We know the show must be going well because they have re-commissioned it. I can’t wait to start shooting Season 3!
Who do you think will enjoy watching Lagging and why would you recommend watching the two series already released?
Lagging really is a great family show. I’d say that it’s really good from ages ten to 14. I know lots of my friends who watch it with their parents. I’ve had messages from grandparents who watch it with their grandchildren. It’s a really lovely show for everyone and there’s some cracking one-liners in there to make you all smile.
You have been a guest on Saturday Mash-Up, how did you find the experience filming for live TV and being a guest on the show?
I’ve done Mash-Up twice now – and it’s honestly one of the best experiences of my life. It’s very different being on live TV – but it’s a crazy time. A very early start but everyone was so awake and happy. I’ve had a custard pie thrown at me, done all sorts of crazy games that are all loads of fun. It’s a real honour to be there with some really big celebs. It felt so cool sitting next to them on the sofa and playing all sorts of silly games. I love live TV and hoping one day I can get into presenting.
What are some of your stand-out highlights from filming Lagging and working with CBBC so far?
I’ve really learnt a lot from working with the older actors on the show. My on-screen dad is a really talented actor and when we are on set together I love learning from him. It’s so cool to be working with CBBC because they make such great shows and this is really different to anything they’ve made in the past. One of my favourite moments was in Series 1 when I had to fall off a skateboard and it was my first ever stunt! I had to eat a lot of cold soup for one of the scenes in Season 2, which was really horrible but looked great on camera. I think it’s always fun when we have pizza on set because I’m sure we fluff our lines so we can all eat more pizza!
We understand you filmed for The Magic Flute, what was this like to do?
I was actually one of the ‘spirits’ who guide the main character in the film. I was in a recording studio in London working with the director and producer who were on a link in Germany.
Can you tell us about some of the commercials you’ve worked on and how are they to film?
I’ve done a commercial for a phone recycling machine that they have in supermarkets. I went to the most amazing location in Italy – right by a lake for three days. All the crew had the whole hotel to ourselves too, which was a lot of fun. I was told to go and eat ice cream and sit by the pool when we arrived to get to know the other cast. That was when I felt like I was a superstar – sitting by a swimming pool and then getting fitted for costumes later when it was cooler. I shot a few different scripts and they all were broadcast. Quite a few people saw me on TV and I’ve had people shouting out phrases from the commercial to me when I’ve been out and about. It’s really funny!
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you start in the industry?
I actually always wanted to go on Britain’s Got Talent and be a dancer. I go to a really fun street dance class and drama group on the weekend and they kept telling my parents to get me an agent but they thought I was too young. They kept asking my parents for two years. I was signed up by my lovely agent Daisy & Dukes and had my headshots done. Lagging happened almost as soon as I’d had the headshots. It was very lucky – and I know it’s not always going to be that easy!
Since I’ve been acting, I realised I love it. I’ve not been pushed into it at all and I think this helps because you REALLY have to want to do it yourself otherwise it will feel like lots of hard work and zero fun.
What do you enjoy most about being an actor and have you been given any advice so far that has stuck with you?
I really love working with people – I love learning new things and I’m very lucky to have the opportunities I’ve had so far. I like making people laugh and I really love seeing people enjoy my work. I remember being told that it’s important to be yourself – and everything is learning. Even if you don’t get a recall then it’s important to use the experience to learn and go again next time. Don’t be upset about not getting a role – you can’t take it personally. Sometimes it may be the colour of your hair or eyes that makes you unsuitable.
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your free time?
I love Marvel and Star Wars and I’ve started to watch loads of classic old British comedy like Monty Python, which I think is sometimes weird but can be really funny. Of course, I spend a LOT of time gaming – but I also love script writing and I’ve written a few episodes of a comedy all about school kids. I have lots of time when I’m on set waiting around and travelling so it’s good to keep busy. I probably spend way too much time on the Xbox though!
What are you hoping 2023 brings for you, and do you have any projects coming up that you can tell us about?
Well, it’s officially announced that there is going to be a Season 3 of Lagging so I can’t wait for that to start and see what they have in store for us all. I think there will be some real surprises this season. I’ll still be doing self-tapes too and I love waiting to see what may come my way and where the next adventure is.
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