Councillor returns to his TV roots

Marcus Harris plays headteacher Brian Davis, centre, in the new series of Darton High

Marcus Harris plays headteacher Brian Davis, centre, in the new series of Darton High

First published in News
Last updated

MARCUS Harris originally found fame as one of the stars of the 1970s TV series The Famous Five.

But in an about-turn, the 50-year-old ended up serving the people of Wallingford as their deputy mayor in 2006-7.

Now the South Oxfordshire district councillor will return to the small screen, starring in a new children’s programme.

It will feature young Oxford actors, and he hopes he can help out the next generation of young performers.

Mr Harris, who played Julian in the TV adaptation of Enid Blyton’s classic novels,  pictured centre, said he hoped his experience would help youngsters who will audition for two parts in the series.

Oxford Mail:

Open auditions to find two 10 to 18-year-olds for Darton High, about life at an inner city school, will be held at the Sea Cadet Hall on Donnington Bridge Road, Oxford, on Saturday.

Mr Harris said: “The reason I’m involved is someone gave me a chance over 30 years ago on The Famous Five and that was such an amazing, positive experience.

“It gave me confidence and communication skills, so if I can help the other kids out for TV and get them to appreciate the value of working in a team that is fantastic.”

A member of South Oxfordshire District Council since 2003, Mr Harris retired from acting after his two years in the ITV programme from 1978-79 and went into business.

But five years ago he returned to professional acting and has appeared in biopics about authors Philip Pullman and Ernest Hemingway.

He plays headteacher Brian Davis in Darton High, which first appeared as an internet drama on YouTube almost three years ago. It was launched by Youngstar TV Film and Acting School as a way to give their young actors the experience of appearing in a drama series.

The show was then picked for television by That’s Media, the parent company of new local TV stations That’s Oxford and That’s Solent, which are set to launch this autumn. It will become the main drama on the stations.

Mr Harris got involved for the TV series after Youngstar advertised for a headmaster. The sixth episode of the first series will be filmed in Oxford, as will all the episodes of series two.

The casting sessions will be run by Youngstar and its founder Louisa Baxter said: “It is important to have Marcus involved because he can talk to the kids about what it is like to be on the set. He is someone who has actually done it.

“Children increasingly think they can go on X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent and they will instantly be a star and that is not the case.

“You have to work hard and Marcus demonstrated that, because he did a lot of stuff as a child. There is a transition between doing something as a child and then doing it as an adult.

“In Oxford there is quite a big arts scene so I think it will be quite a good place to do it and find some local talent.”

Mr Harris said: “We are looking for supporting artists as well, those people who are not successful in the leading roles may well have success in the supporting roles. The audition process will involve film and TV workshops.

“We will see a lot of potential talent, this isn’t just an extra part in the back row.”

To take part in the casting email info@youngstar.tv or call 02380 477717.

Our top stories

The £1.6bn investment that ‘would keep us at the global cutting edge’

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 2nd July 2015

AMBITIOUS proposals for £1.6bn of transport and development schemes in Oxfordshire have been unveiled by a partnership of businesses, universities and councils.

Rally held outside Bodleian Library to support Greek people and oppose austerity

Oxford Mail: Greek Solidarity Rally

7:49pm Thursday 2nd July 2015

ABOUT 40 Oxford residents attended a rally outside the Bodleian Library in solidarity with the people of Greece today.

Queues on A34 southbound after crash near Peartree Interchange

Oxford Mail: A34 traffic alert

5:48pm Thursday 2nd July 2015

DRIVERS are facing delays as an accident has blocked one lane of the A34 Western By Pass Road southbound.

Group of men sexually assaults teenage girl in Wheatley

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

5:29pm Thursday 2nd July 2015

A TEENAGE girl was confronted by a group of men and sexually assaulted in Wheatley in the early hours of this morning, [2/7] police said.

More Tunisia beach massacre victims repatriated at RAF Brize Norton

Oxford Mail:

4:04pm Thursday 2nd July 2015

The bodies of nine victims of the Tunisian beach massacre have been returned to the UK, as the final British death toll was confirmed at 30.

UPDATE: Missing Stephen Gray from Abingdon found

Oxford Mail:

10:59am Thursday 2nd July 2015

A MAN from Abingdon who went missing has been found.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree