Our Joint Leading Lady is 16 year old Bristol actor Leah Smith who plays the part of 16 year old Lucy Sands in the film.
Leah is a fearless young woman, she came to the auditions at the age of just 15 knowing that this incredibly testing role was hers. We didn't disagree with her.
Her first couple of days on set were spent in the make up tent with MUA Michele Bromley, who patiently applied layer upon layer of make up on Leah over a 7 hour period to create the living corpse of Lucy. Leah patience and skills in front of the camera are legendary, The rest is history.:
I am honoured and humbled to be representing the memory of Lucy Sands.
My acting career began when I was lucky to be cast in CBeebies ‘Nina and The Neurons at the age of 7. Since then, I haven’t looked back!.
I recent years I've appeared in productions ranging from the chorus of Bill Kenwrights ‘Joseph and his amazing Technicolour dream coat, to touring with Quirky Bird Theatre Company’s adaptation of DNA’.
Playing Lucy in The Ballad Of Lucy Sands has been an amazing opportunity and journey.
Possibly one of the most demanding characters in the film, 19 year old Cornish Actor Tamsin Ford brings a whole new depth to the feisty character of Maggie Crannie.
Tamsin (Like Leah) knew that the part of Maggie was hers from the onset. She nailed the audition and floored us all with her first appearance on set.
Never failing to rise to the complexity of any scene we throw at her. Maggies rise to joint leading lady was inevitable from that first day.
Her adventures await her audience. We guarantee they won't be disappointed.
Being a part of this film is still something I can’t quite get my head around; to think I only applied to be an extra for a shoot in my home town but was flung into a major role... it’s just been incredible! Every single person involved in this project has been so wonderful to work with and I feel so honoured to play such a key part in bringing Lucy’s story to life.
As much as I don’t want the filming to end, I cannot wait to see the finished product and the positive reaction it receives!
17 year old Olivia Maiden from Swindon contacted us on the first day of casting and was immediately given the role of 16 year old Jane Shannon, Girlfriend of Lucys murderer and close friend of Lucy and the other leading ladies whose lives this film follows.
Jane is a young lady whose flighty ways have given her a bit of a reputation in the town, Olivia is the polar opposite so this role is a demanding one.
Olivia is an all round powerhouse of talent, garnering awards for her acting skills, directing her own films via her own production company, Its hardly surprising that she became the 1st AD within weeks of joining us..
I am super honoured to be both Jane Shannon and 1st AD on this exciting new feature film, bringing justice to Lucy and her memory.
Since 2016, when I created and acted in my first short film, I haven’t stopped getting involved with films on both sides of the camera and was honoured last year to win a couple of awards for my acting and filmmaking.
We have made some incredible and unforgettable memories so far and I am buzzing to see where Jane’s journey takes me next in Lucy’s story and how far this film can go.
Our youngest lead lady is 14 year old Abby Sparrow from Bath, who plays the part of the more demure Mary Lawson, a 15 year old lady who aspires to the ways of the other women but is torn between the loyalty to her parents and Victorian societies constraints on young women..
This conflict between right and what is deemed morally wrong often leads to the rise of verbal blows with the feisty Maggie.
Mary is more of a wall flower than a rebel, always trying to keep the peace and never overstepping the line of morality. whilst wrestling with her dormant rebellious side.
Abby was brought into the mix by Olivia, and her talent is unfathomable, her on set emotions have caused quite a few teary eyes to date.
My first film break came when I auditioned for Olivia Maiden’s first Directed film, Never Alone. I did something right, as although I didn’t look like the scripted characters, I impressed enough for her to write in a new character just for me.
The Ballad of Lucy Sands is now our 5th film together. I remember contacting casting for the role of Maggie. Hearing the description of the flirty, drinking, rebellious character it was pointed out I was only 13 and so I was offered the more reserved character of Mary (which pleased my Dad!). The role of Mary has taught me so much and I have just loved being part of this wider family on set. With scripting still ongoing and evolving, I can’t wait to see what happens to Mary next!
Allison Abbot an actor from Torquay came along with her son Aldwyn (Harry Mainprize) as chaperone, and was soon talent spotted and drafted in to take the part of Lucys fostering grandmother 62 year old Sarah Stewart.
Allison took on the role to perfection, from the moment she had a script thrown under her nose to when she walked on set 15 minutes later. breathing life into the role of Sarah,
like many of the actors in this film, Allison just came along and proved to us all that the role was hers, no audition, no pomp or ceremony, no ego, she just walked in and brought the character of Sarah to life. and gelled immediately with her on screen spinster sister Esther Reay.
60 year old Spinster Esther Reay is played by Plymouth actor Margaret Grimoldby.
Margaret was drafted into the fray from the first wave of cast calls, a script was given to her and she just turned up on set and near reduced many of the crew and cast to tears on her first days shoot where she had to identify the body of Lucy in the waiting room in Boscarne - Cornwall.
Esther is Lucys Aunt and remained unmarried until her death, brought about by the stress of Lucys murder and the ensuing trial.
Margaret brings a very sensitive approach to Esthers character, an incredibly kind, thoughtful, proud and hard working woman of Victorian Cumberland. Margaret has done her memory justice..
Playing Esther Reay has been a dream come true and working with such a wonderful team of people has been an honour and a privilege.
I have a background in community arts and theatre and recently played Galactia in Scenes from an Execution and Ros, in All your Gold at the Drum, Plymouth. I also work in role play, performing interactive murder mysteries around the South West..
Whilst I've worked as a supporting artist in TV and film, the role of Esther is my screen acting first. What an amazing journey it's been!
Thank you everyone for this incredible opportunity.
Detective Inspector Isaac Bird was always going to be a hard one to cast, we needed someone strong willed, ready for the fight, bolshy and a non sufferer of fools, yet a touch of humility about him.
Along came Bodmin actor Mark Allan Pilgrim. Larger than life, loud, full on with his acting methods and someone who has admitted that the scripts we've given him of late have reduced this gentle giant to tears.
We had our man and hes proven time and time again that he can deliver the character we need to pull the forces of the law together to take the killer to trial.
Being no stranger to playing. a member of the law, he'd recently completed a tour where he'd played the part of Wyatt Earp on stage.
Mark is a committed actor whose talent simply oozes when in front of the camera.
I trained for the stage the classical way at The Hub Theatre School of Cornwall, graduating in the mid 90’s.
I have done various genres since, with roles in shows as diverse as The Caucasian Chalk Circle to Arsenic and Old Lace!
This has given me the skills and experience to tackle lots of different parts and my part in “...Lucy...” could possibly be my best performance to date.
That’s down to the writing, the ensemble cast and, ultimately, the VERY little known story of dear Lucy Sands.
“Don’t forget me.”
The first doctor at the scene of the murder, the cool headed Dr John Highet played by Redruth actor James Care was also drafted in via the same methods we've used for this film,
'Come along and prove you're the right person for the job'
He did just that and within minutes we were bowled over by what he was delivering to the camera.
Cool and collective are ways we use to describe him, never mincing words he says exactly what is on his mind and is not afraid to voice his opinions / concerns, especially to those who are close to him.
Being good friends with Dr Alexander Hogg we hear some of those opinions being bandied around in this film. with no punches spared when he has a run in with young Maggie Crannie on a couple of occasions.
The dynamics of all these characters has made this an interesting journey.
Playing Dr Highet has been a priviledge and one of the pieces of work that I am most proud of out of all the roles I have played thus far.
My background has been largely theatre but I've been more steadily working in locally made independant films. Recent credits include "The Inroad" and (WW1 drama) "Coward" where I also worked with young Ruben Wheeler (James Reay of this film).
It's been amazing to work with such skilled people on this film and if all that brilliance shows on the silver screen, then all that time and effort will have been worth every second thats been invested into the telling of Lucys story.
What can I say about Dr Alexander Hogg? We had an actor ready to take his part and he bailed two days before the doctor was due to walk on set. Stuart Davidson, from Bovey Tracey, was at my side having lunch with me on the set of Poldark the moment this happened. He was pretty much press-ganged into the role by a few people there who told him that he had the ability to make the character his own. Stuart has not failed to amaze us. His character is a shy, retiring bachelor who is quite a nervous and thoughtful man - the polar opposite of his counterpart, Dr Highet. The dynamics between the two of them on screen are pretty phenomenal. Despite his affluent, middle-class background, his caring and compassion for the lower classes is well documented. As such his sense of justice and chivalry does get him into some scrapes along the way, mostly to his benefit, as will be revealed in the finished film.
I started out many years ago as a supporting artist for film and TV, appearing in over forty films for German television. After a number of speaking parts I was signed by an agent and went on to appear in TV commercials for brands including Tesco, Ginsters and Thatcher’s Cider. A move into documentaries led to me being cast as King Arthur in John Howe’s documentary series, ‘In Search of the Hobbit’. There followed minor roles as Ben Twilly in Doc Martin and George Warleggan’s valet in Poldark, as well as appearances in Atlantis, Galavant, The White Princess, Casualty, The Coroner, and Broadchurch. Serendipity introduced me to the wonderful part of Alexander Hogg. It is both exciting and a privilege to be involved in a truly unique film that for the first time ever in film or print reveals the untold story of the truth behind the murder of Lucy Sands.
The man who discovered the body of Lucy. whilst breaking stones to mettle the road at Northside, Robert Moncrieff played by Max Brandt.
Max threw himself into the role of Robert without any previous auditions, we think he was absolutely the right person to play this troubled yet highly religious character who lived at Brow top in the town.
I’ve been involved in theatre for a long time and have only recently started working in film. ‘Lucy’ is one of the ones that has been the most fun on which to work…if ‘fun’ is the right word!
I’ve played Dr. Oldcorn in ‘Killing Lionel’ (Paramour/Sunsetrider Productions – due for international release this year) and ‘A Story for Happy’ (Paramour) which won the Roma International prize for best foreign short.
I’m also a director/producer and writer and the company manager for Inn Theatre, where Shakespeare is the watch-word and I’ve been honoured to play everything from Falstaff to Shylock to Prospero and beyond and have directed Lear and Othello.
It’s been a privilege to work with Steve and all the cast and crew on ‘The Ballad of Lucy Sands…and the journey, it seems, isn’t over yet!
Lucys Second Cousin - Sarah Stewarts Grandson, James Reay - played by Ruben Wheeler.
Ruben came to us very early on in the stages of planning this film, he soon took to the role of James Reay and has brought his own flavour and emotion to the role.
Hes a bit of an outsider compared to the other characters his age, has his head firmly planted in his work and brings home his pay to help the family keep their heads above water, a proud young man, who dotes on his immediate and extended family. Choosing not to drink in the town he's unfamiliar with most of Lucys friends and colleagues whom she chooses to surround herself with. Not one for gossip he keeps himself to himself.
I applied for the role of James Reay in September 2018 not realising at the time what a large scale project it would become.
It’s been a great role for me as I’ve had to push myself emotionally and learn a new accent.
Overall I have had a great time working on set with amazing professional crew and actors. I’m looking forward to seeing the completed film.
The Steelworks Chemist - Harry Mainprize played by Aldwyn Abbott. Aldwyn plays the charismatic lad about town Harry. A good looking guy who knows exactly that! a ladies man and a bit of a catch (he thinks) but the ladies are clued up and know exactly what he's like. Hes not adverse to the odd bar brawl, a good night out on the town and trying to pull whoever comes within reach, he has the looks after all - so he spends a lot of the time in the Oak, listening to the latest gossip and having his opinion about who does what to who and where..... and of course using his gift of the gab to impress the ladies. a smart dressed young chap who comes across harmless enough, until he has a run in with the accused at the trial and things start to turn on him.
Detective inspector Alexander Taylor from Carlisle - played by Jools Head. Thrown headlong into the fray of the murder, Jools plays a cool level headed detective who meets with Isaac Bird for the first time as Isaac arrives on the scene by train, =the two of them become close allies in trying to nail the murderer. Not an easy task when the body has lain there for so long, but his eagle eye and alertness catches those whom he needs to speak with and he does this without mincing words, hes blunt, to the point and very matter of fact in his approach, In the words of Mary lawson, "hes a man not to be crossed" his assertiveness commands him an audience with whomever he chooses, whether that person likes it or not.
Sub Inspector Samual Pickard - played by Lino Carlino. Lino a film director and film company owner was drafted in by cameraman Andy Qualtrough. Lino, a time served actor chose the part of the charismatic Police officer over many of the others that were on offer in those earlier days of casting.
A compassionate yet firm man, Samuel is a loyal friend and colleague to Isaac Bird and wants nothing more than justice for Lucy, sitting in on the court he watches over the baying crowds as they turn the proceedings into a circus side show.
Sub Inspector William Dodd of Workington played by Plymouth based actor William Grimoldby.
Peter came into the fray accompanied by his wife Margaret who plays Lucys Aunt - spinster, Esther Reay., as a team they work effortlessly on set to bring their own flavour to their chaaracters.
As William Dodd, I am very pleased to be a part of this project.
Over the past few years I have been a supporting artist, in both film and television, and performed in community theatre.
I have enjoyed working on this project and with its talented cast and crew.
Sub Inspector John Armstrog played by Joe Quick. What can I say about Joe? You give him a gentle twist to his role and his elation is turned to number eleven. He stepped up the role when we made him a more important member of the cast than just your average policeman on the scene.
Drafted in to be a part of the Workington police division from Maryport, John is a bit of an outsider but his willingness to help out wherever he can is paramount, his compassion for the family and the dead girl is evident and his emotions when he encounters the corpse of Lucy are more than convincing,
His closeness to Isaac Bird and his more familiar colleagues is welcomed by the team, so he works tirelessly alongside them to try to find the murderer of this poor young woman who needs to be brought to justice!
Our Judge is portrayed by Jason Collins, who was brought into the fray by word of mouth from our photographer Mike Alsford. He visited the set and was completely taken aback by the professionalism and high standards of actors he encountered on this films set. It still takes us all aback from time to time when we see the performances that have been delivered to date, and they just keep getting better! as was shown in the courtroom scenes in June 2019, when the befuddled and slightly inebriated judge came into the courts to watch over the trial.
All is not what its seems though, his intolerance of the witnesses and their stumbling over their words when quizzed by the imposing Mr Paisley leads to many a person being ushered out and their evidence being discounted. a brutish man who uses his power and position to his own ends. mainly in the private society clubs, gambling and whore houses of the town.
The defence Lawyer Mr Paisley is played by Kelly Merritt. I met Kelly on set less than 2 months ago whilst filming for the latest Jane Austen series Sanditon, He was one of us mere supporting artists and we gelled the moment we met. after viewing the trailer Kelly sent me his showreel and I immediately sent him Mr paisleys script, a voracious man, very learned, the best in his trade! Which sends out questions as to how the family - a mere steel workers family could afford him? Mr Paisleys sole intent - as any defence lawyer would be - is to smash the opposition and win the case for his clients. He does this with a calculated ease and grace jumping between playing different roles of being the witnesses friend, to sympathising with them, then finally ripping them apart in front of a baying and baited crowd,
Kelly really did sink his teeth firmly into this role and he delivered a performance of such a vile human being with expertise....
Recently I decided to start working as an SA, alongside obtaining showreel footage from short films to gain invaluable experience to enter the film world. Meeting and getting to know Steve has been a real privilege and I feel honoured to be given such an important and pivotal role in this production, my first feature length.
Acting wise, my experience is predominantly theatrical with notable roles including Stanley in Streetcar Named Desire, The Narrator in War of the Worlds. Gomez in The Addams Family and Ben in Pinter's Dumb Waiter.
Our first on the scene reporter from The West Cumberland Post is George Suart played by Jon Ian dredge, a ruthless man who would literally sell his soul for the scoop of the century!
He sold it here for Lucys story, but Judge ye not! He is an unintentional and accidental hero in the story of Lucys murder!
Treated worse than a street dog by Isaac Bird his relentless quest for the story helped make Lucys name a household one around the entire Victorian Empire.
All will be revealed in the films full release,
Our west Cumberland post newspaper owner and printer by trade is played by Darrel Wheeler, father of young Ruben who plays James Reay.
The story of Lucy made the paper a massive hit of the day, it was ar the forefront of Lucys murder case and the lead up to it, giving weekly reports on the investigations as the news was spread around the town, and around the entire world!
The court case in April launched the papers bi-weekly edition, which lead to the papers expansion and profits, a one penny supplement was released on theWednesday and continued to prosper for almost a century afterwards, until the paper merged with the now more commonly known Times and Star.
Being familiar with the amount of time spent on set chaperoning my son Ruben I thought it would be a bit of fun to put myself forward as an extra for this great production.
One of the parts was ‘man with dog’ which I thought was perfect as we had Denzel our Jack Russell. Much to my surprise when the script came through I had a couple of lines, I’d never acted before but gave it a go. The genie was then out of the bottle and it became obvious who Ruben got his acting gene from!
The part evolved even further when I did an ad lib scene with John Dredge (who plays the much unloved journalist) shot in the print room at Flambards.
Jacques is an odd character, drafted in from the high society circles of Paris and London, he has a job to do and he is known for doing it well!
Played by Traveling West End actor Mark Starr, Jacques was originally scripted for a French born actor who pulled out of the role a week or so before the filming was due to take place,
Mark read the script and within 5 minutes demanded to be given a chance at the role, he stepped in and immediately took the role to a whole new level, adding in his flavour and charisma,
Hes the most odious character we have scripted to date but despite Jacques fierce and nasty reputation, he has an air of tranquility and calm about him and he takes a shine rather quickly to the person he is entrusted to 'deal with'..
Madam of her brothel and keeping her girls safe on the streets is Nancy Bell, Maria jumped straight into this role without hesitation, Everyone loves a larger than life character and Maria is just that,
Her sidekick is the feisty but waif-like Selena, who gets into many a scrape in her profession, bailed out of many by her Mentor and friend Nancy.
No period drama is complete without its Ladies of the Night, and Selena is no exception, Played by Roisin McCay, Selena is a key figure in both background and in a short speaking role. Animating the film alongside her mentor Nancy Bell our pair of night ladies fill the rat infested streets with a Victorian air of desperation and decay.
Playing the gossipy Mrs Dorothy Grant is Bruna Matsin.
The final witness in the trial, she tells her version of events of how she met the young killer on two separate occasions as he loitered at the end of Central street Station, waiting in the dark for someone to accompany him across the bridge and past the grave of Lucy where she was still waiting to be discovered.
jessie Nicholls, an unshakeable young woman who faces the courts barrister Mr paisley when she is called to inspect the dress which Lucy was found wearing. Being a seamstress and dressmaker in her own rights, Jessie is confronted by Mr paisley and he gets more than he bargained for when she refused to buckle under his grilling.
Played by the wonderfully talented Megan Tremethick from Cornwall.
Lizzie Smith was one of two maids living at the household of the prisoner at the time of Lucys disappearance.
She witnessed many things in the house and as such the police focused on her testimony to help nail the prisoner.
played by Bristol actor Amy Kinder who has played many a part in various productions over the past few years, she will be back on set again as Lizzie in the near future.
Mrs Martha Manson (played by Gina Bee) was the churches head cleaner who employed the services of its congregation to help out for overhauls for special occasions in the church.
Her closeness to Mr Robinson was never confirmed as being that of an intimate relationship, but they did seem to be very close, with Mr Robinson coming to her aid at times of need.
Were they really an item back then? only their on screen demeanour may answer those questions.
James Stuckey, like all of the new cast we drafted in this particular week came along from a casting call and in less than a week blew us all away with his performance
Billy Wilson, a stone mason by trade once walked out with Lucy and this wasn't to his advantage as she cited him as being the man she was walking out with later that evening 1st December 1881.
Richard Robinson, played by Roy Restell (an actor who has been in this production as a supporting actor since day one) was St Johns Church warden and treasurer (where Lucy now lies) and was a devout religious man who ensured that the church's finances were kept in order, .
His actual liaisons with Mrs Martha Manson are unknown, but they did seem to be inseparable at times.
Evan Jones - a witness from the trial who knew and met the prisoner in the Oak soon after the body was found.
Played by Matthew Doman from Wales who is no stranger to the screen and TV, his latest roles are to be seen in the ITV screen adaption of Jane Austen's unfinished novel, Sanditon.
Rosie O'Leary, probably our youngest speaking actor to date.
Rosie plays the part of the poor young girl who has just finished her cleaning shift and seeks out Isaac Bird to speak with.
What transpires next is nothing short of heart warming and fills the soul with hope.
Played By newcomer to the screen Emily Miles from near London. who took the script and completely made it her own, she was fearless on set and never once looked directly into the camera unless instructed to. A young star in the making.
Mother to Rosie, Mary O'Leary plays a small part in a very poignant scene which shows the spread of community spirit in the town From back then,
Played by Sarah Jane Worrall who came on set at the eleventh hour - literally the eleventh hour of the night before where we were exchanging messages for hours on end whilst I was at a gig!
A director always makes time for the film they are working on, regardless of the occasion they are attending - when theres a shoot that needs to be cast. We shot the scene at 9am the following morning, We love dedicated actors
Sarah Stewart was one of the unwitting people caught up in the ripple effect of the towns rumours after the disappearance of Lucy.
Her story is a short one in Lucys Tale, but a poignant one for her co-player Mr Kerr!
Mr William Grant, Husband of Dorothy and an engineer who works on the Northside,
Hemet with the prisoner on two separate occasions, his bout in court is to tell this tale.
Henry James Kerr, a town giossip who drinks too much and cannot hold his tongue!
He gets into some incredibly hot water by the hands of Sarah Stewart with his latest gossipy tales...
Joseph Teller, a dark horse if ever there was one!
The towns local miscreant Joseph is involved with many a dark deed and this time around its one of the darkest Joseph will even encounter.
Theres a grisly and shocking twist to Josephs tale, which will only be revealed in the film.