True acting dynasty

FOR twins Elizabeth and Jemima Watling acting is most definitely in the blood.

Craig Robinson

FOR twins Elizabeth and Jemima Watling acting is most definitely in the blood.

Their father Giles was Oswold in BBC sitcom Bread and their three aunties - Deborah, Dylis and Nicola - also caught the acting bug.

Deborah played Victoria Waterfield - the companion of second Doctor Who Patrick Troughton, while Dilys appeared in Coronation Street and The Two Ronnies.

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Their grandfather, Jack, also had a long career in British films in the 1940s and 50s and established himself on TV during the 1960s.

Elizabeth and Jemima have followed in the family tradition and recently starred in the Royal Hospital School's production of The Winslow Boy �- in which their grandfather also starred when it debuted in London in 1946.

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Jack also appeared as Dickie Winslow, older brother of the title character, in the 1948 film adaptation of the play, which was written by Terence Rattigan.

It is inspired by an event which took place in 1908 when a boy was expelled from a Naval College for stealing a postal order and charts the story of his father's fight to clear his name and the effect it has on all those involved.

Elizabeth, who played Grace Winslow, the title characters' mother, and Jemima, who played the sister, are both 16 and studying for their GCSEs.

They were chosen for the parts by the Royal Hospital School's drama and classics teacher Simon Warr - although he had no idea they were from a family with such a rich acting pedigree.

“It is an amazing coincidence,” he said. “I cast the girls in January but I didn't know who they were because I'd never taught them before. It was only when I heard from Giles who said 'thank you for selecting the play, my grandfather was actually in the original production' when I realised.

“I think the students were a little bit sceptical of the play to begin with because they thought some of the dialogue was a little bit outdated - it's set at the time of the First World War.

“However they have done a fantastic job. I like to do a major theatre piece every other year - I've done musicals such as Oliver, Guys and Dolls and Grease and it would have been easy to do something light and frothy this time around. However, I have a duty to educate and I wanted them to experience some culture - the language is rich and there is a message that comes through.”

Their proud dad Giles, who lives with his wife Vanda Brinkworth in Frinton-on-Sea, also spent many hours helping Mr Warr in the direction and production of the play - as well as playing the role of the judge.

“Everyone involved has been smashing,” he said. “It's interesting because my wife and I have never pushed the girls in the show business direction at all. It obviously seems to run in the family and it's nice because it's as if it's come full circle.”

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