How we use Cookies

Young Isabelle Barker follows in family’s footsteps and lands role in BBC comedy Accidental Farmer

HER mum, grandma and great-grandma had the performing bug from a young age.

Young Isabelle follows in family’s footsteps

HER mum, grandma and great-grandma had the performing bug from a young age.

So at the age of 18 months when Isabelle Barker expressed an interest in following in their footsteps it came as no surprise.

Now the five-year-old from Highburton is set for the spotlight after landing a part in a new TV show.

She was picked from dozens of children to star in BBC comedy Accidental Farmer alongside Ugly Betty and Extras star Ashley Jensen.

The show’s pilot – set to air on December 21 – sees Jensen playing Erin, a high-powered London ad executive who has it all until she discovers her boyfriend is having an affair.

She wreaks revenge by abusing his credit card buying a run-down farm in Yorkshire where she has to get to grips with characters including an octogenarian tenant and a piglet.

Children from all over the region auditioned but Isabelle stood out and was chosen to play Eve, the youngest of five children living on the farm.

Isabelle, a pupil at Highburton First School, spent two weeks filming on location in Malton in North Yorkshire.

Proud mum Zoe, 36, who runs the Huddersfield-based Strickland Cook Theatre School with her mum, Pam Strickland, said Isabelle had a ball filming the show.

She said: “We were really delighted when she got the part. She’s only five and it’s such a lovely opportunity.

“She was great and took everything in her stride like she had been doing it for years.

“She was absolutely buzzing to be part of the filming and loved working with the cast and crew. She had quite a few lines with Ashley who was really lovely with her.

“The whole experience was fantastic and it was great seeing the way she got on with it all. She had to do a lot of work with a pig which was interesting for her!”

Considering her family background, Isabelle’s determination to shine is unsurprising.

Zoe’s grandma Joan Morris set up the dance and drama school which she later ran with her daughter and Zoe’s mum Pam Strickland.

Dance teacher Pam is also well-known for lending her expertise to local performers, and next year sees her choreograph her 30th pantomime for Huddersfield Light Opera Company.

Pam’s daughter Zoe then took over her grandma’s role in helping her mum run the performance school after years of dancing on cruise ships all over the world.

Zoe’s dad Richard Cook is also a keen performer and sings with the drama group.

Under her mum and grandma’s expert tuition Isabelle started dancing at a young age and her talent is already shining through.

This year she appeared in local productions of The King and I and Carousel and in the summer scooped four gold medals and three trophies in her first dancing competition in Batley.

She also had to call on her animal acting skills again after winning the part in the DFS Christmas campaign where she will be seen on our screens soon playing with a dog bigger than her.

Zoe said: “It’s been a lovely year for Isabelle and her whole family is very proud of her.

“She’s been dancing since she was 18 months old and is so bubbly and outgoing performing suits her.

“Performing is very much in the family and I think we always expected she would want to follow.

“She’s had such a big opportunity but as long as she keeps enjoying herself that’s the main thing.”

 

Journalists

Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Val Javin
Features Editor
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent