A budding young performer will see himself on the small screen tomorrow for the first time as he appears on a panel show on the CBBC channel.
And the family of 11-year-old Matteo Neri, from Lesbury, hopes that his appearance on The Dog Ate My Homework will act as a stepping stone to a successful career with further roles in film and television.
Matteo, a former pupil of Hipsburn First School who is now at Dame Allan’s in Newcastle, began acting as part of the Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre, only going initially because some of his friends did. “The first play I did, it just felt right doing it,” he said.
Hipsburn First School was very supportive, particularly the headteacher Dot Charlton, in allowing Matteo to attend auditions, while the dance teacher Miss Stewart was great at encouraging him to act.
After several successful appearances in youth-theatre productions and a number of compliments about Matteo, his mum Simone thought that maybe it was something to look at more seriously.
So Matteo signed up with Peanuts, based in Newcastle, a talent agency for young people which also offers training once a month.
Since then, he has had a number of auditions, including some very high-profile ones, the most recent being for The Crown, the critically-acclaimed, multimillion-pound Netflix drama about The Queen.
Matteo has also appeared in a short film, Au-Some Pirates, produced for an autism charity and was selected for another film, which was cancelled halfway through filming.
But Friday’s appearance is his first on TV and follows a successful audition in Newcastle and a weekend of filming in Glasgow, where Matteo had his own dressing room.
The Dog Ate My Homework, which was ‘really good fun’ to film, according to Matteo, is a popular, comedy quiz show.
Matteo is a team captain on tomorrow’s episode, which airs at 5pm on the CBBC channel. You can watch a preview featuring Matteo here.