Thursday, March 24, 2011

First look at The Runaway

Screenterrier reported back in March 2010 on the casting of Skins star Jack O'Connell and newcomer Joanna Vanderham in Sky1's adaptation of Martina Cole's best-seller The Runaway.

The 6-part series also stars Alan Cumming as flamboyant transvestite Desrae, Ken Stott (Messiah), and Keith Allen (Robin Hood).

Now, a year later, the drama hits our screens on Thursday 31st March at 9pm on Sky1.

East London kids Cathy Connor (Vanderham) and Eamonn Docherty (O'Connell) dream of a brighter future. But their hopes are shattered when Cathy is sent into care and then compelled to run away and forced to survive on the streets of Soho. Befriended by colourful transvestite Desrae (Cumming), Cathy grows up in the heart of London's underworld, while Eamonn is drawn into a life of crime and ultimately flees to New York. As London's red light district sinks into the sleaze of the 70s, and the IRA, police corruption and industrial strikes dominate the nation's mood, Cathy and Eamonn are drawn back together, only to discover that their past is not far behind. Burn Gorman (Torchwood), Kierston Wareing (The Take), Max Irons (Dorian Gray) and Mark Womack (Liverpool 1) also star in the six-part drama.

Jack O'Connell, 20, from Derby, is a graduate from the ITV Junior Workshop in Nottingham that also produced Samantha Morton, Misfits actress Lauren Socha, and Coronation Street star Chris Gascoyne.  Scouts spotted his potential at an early age and at the age of 15 he made his TV debut with parts in Doctors and The Bill, where he played the troubled youth who raped Sgt June Ackland.

Since then he has been best known for playing James Cook in the 2nd generation of E4 teen drama Skins.  Most recently, he starred in BBC2 two-parter Dive as the boyfriend of a teenage diving Olympics hopeful who has to make life-changing decisions after she falls pregnant.
The Runaway sees Jack take his first lead role in a major series as Eamonn.

Newcomer Joanna Vanderham, 19, (now represented by Ken McReddie Associates), from a small village near Perth in Scotland, was plucked from college to play her first role in The Runaway.  Joanna, then in her second year at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, was spotted by casting director Emma Style and asked to audition alongside Jack.

She was given time off college to film The Runaway but returned to finish her course and expects to graduate in June, when she plans to move to London to further her career.

And here's a sneak peek at the two youngsters playing the younger versions of Cathy and Eamonn.

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