A 13-year-old schoolgirl has become the latest screen sensation after landing her first TV role in the fantasy blockbuster Game of Thrones.
Cordelia Hill, from Preston, was swept up by a whirlwind of Hollywood glitz, chauffeured limousines and paparazzi on her debut in the smash-hit series.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” said mum Katy Hill at home in Samlesbury. “She really got the superstar treatment – we had no idea how big Game of Thrones was around the globe.”
Cordelia beat hundreds of other hopefuls to the part of a young Lyanna Stark in the sixth season of the record-breaking show, which counts US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron among its millions of devoted fans worldwide.
She caught the eye of BAFTA-winning casting director Nina Gold after just one audition - even though she missed the follow-up screen test to go away on a family holiday.
Cordelia and her mum were flown over to Northern Ireland for filming. Once they touched down they were swallowed up in a glamorous movie star lifestyle.
The former child model was picked up at the airport in a chauffeur-driven limo, snapped by the paparazzi as she arrived at her swanky hotel and whisked off to costume fittings and hair and make-up sessions.
“Cordelia even had her own trailer, with her name on it, to relax in while she was off-set,” said Katy. “They even took a sample of her hair to match up to her understudy – yes, she even had an understudy.
“The whole experience was incredible, yet she took it completely in her stride. She is so grounded and wasn’t fazed by any of it.
“After this you can understand why Cordelia dreams of doing it for a living.
“Her agent is already putting her forward for other film parts. Hopefully it will lead to other things.”
Lyanna Stark has been central to the storyline in Game of Thrones even though her character was killed off before the series began. Cordelia’s portrayal of her as a young girl begins as she arrives on horseback as a flashback in the opening episode of Season 6.
The student from Westholme Independent School in Blackburn was put forward for the part by agent Lucia Victoria. Her skills on horseback – she is an accomplished showjumper – coupled with a natural acting ability, proved a winning combination.
“We had to send them footage of her riding both her own horse and mine,” said Katy, who runs a company manufacturing street furniture. “We heard she had got the part while we were on holiday in Marbella. She was in tears, jumping up and down with excitement.
“It was all a bit surreal when we were getting out of the limo at the hotel in Belfast and the photographers were snapping away.
“They can’t have known who she was, but they were after anyone from Game of Thrones. They knew the limos and, when we pulled up, they realised she must be a cast member.
“I hadn’t watched too much of the series and I’ve got to admit I didn’t know how huge it is, all around the world. It’s the biggest TV production there is right now, smashing audience records. It’s amazing.
“When Cordelia was a little girl she used to watch Black Beauty on TV and she would say, ‘I want to be an actress that rides a horse.’ And her first role of any significance is just that, an actress riding a horse.
“So, quite literally, it’s her dream come true.”