Little Murray Speers may be only three but he is about to hit the ‘big time’ when he appears in the much-advertised UTV drama ‘The Secret’ tonight (Friday).
The Portadown Integrated Nursery pupil will play Daniel Howell, son of dentist and convicted murderer Colin Howell (played by James Nesbitt).
Howell was found guilty in 2010 of killing his wife Lesley and his lover’s husband Trevor Buchanan.
Murray, described by mum Nicky as a “real chatterbox and a bit of a character”, had never acted before being selected for the part which was advertised by the agency Extras NI.
His mum Nicky said, “He fitted the criteria, in terms of age and hair colouring, and went for an audition, where he had to draw a picture and talk about it.”
To Nicky and husband John’s surprise and delight, Murray was selected for the part and attended 10 days of filming in locations including Groomsport, Carrickfergus, and Crumlin Road jail.
Said Nicky, “He absolutely loved it. There were other children on set and they were all treated so well. Murray even had his own trailer where he could go for a nap or a shower.
“Because of the strict rules governing children, Murray wasn’t given lines to learn. Instead, he just had to ad-lib. We explained right from the start that it was acting, that he was just pretending.”
One of the scenes Murray features in is his character’s second birthday. Said Nicky, “It’s significant because later that evening they (Howell and Hazel Buchanan, who was also jailed for life for the murders) kill their spouses.”
Since then, Murray has joined Pamela Cassells School of Performance and will be appearing it its musical, Strive, at the Waterfront in June.
Meanwhile, another pupil of Pamela’s, Emma Horan (17) from Lurgan, plays Katie, Colin Howell’s step-daughter. Two other pupils starring in the drama are members of Pamela’s agency- Universal Youth- which provides actors for film, theatre, TV and radio.
The drama starts at 9pm.