Former UCLan student is star of new BBC drama that 'tackles real and personal issues'

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A UCLan graduate from Skelmersdale stars as a partially-sighted fresher student in BBC's 'The Break', focusing on the difficulties that minority groups face in the UK.

Lancashire's own Niamh Longford earned her lead role as May in the new season of the short-form drama after grabbing a first-class honours degree in Acting at the University of Central Lancashire.

Written by emerging young talent, the drama series 'reflects modern life in the UK', with Niamh's character May starring as a partially sighted university student in the fifth episode.

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After taking her first steps into the acting career at West Lancashire College and winning a 'National Operatic and Dramatic Association' award, the actor has been hailed as 'a star on the rise' by renowned film director Aurora Fearnley.

Niamh told the Post: "Each season gives small bites of content that is relatable to everyone in some way. Every season has an overall theme that highlights the struggles and realities that marginalised communities face in the UK. It showcases the type of people and stories we don't usually see on our screens which is one of the reasons I was so proud to be involved with the season.

"I play the character of May in the fifth episode - she is a fresher at university who is struggling to fit in and find her gang of people that she feels comfortable around. It follows her on her personal struggles of not being able to connect with people.

"She is partially sighted but doesn't want anybody to know. Because of this, she struggles to recognise people which causes her to have a miscommunication with people she has met. It gives a real insight into living with a disability and whether you want to let it define you or not. It balances this with finding the humour in vulnerability and real personal issues."

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Being partially sighted herself, Niamh was told she "would never make it" when trying to pursue a career as a dancer.

Actor Niamh stars in BBC Three's 'The Break' as partially sighted student MayActor Niamh stars in BBC Three's 'The Break' as partially sighted student May
Actor Niamh stars in BBC Three's 'The Break' as partially sighted student May

But just a day after being offered the role by casting directors at the BBC the Preston graduate headed to London for a rehearsal.

She added: "Each of the episodes focuses on characters who find themselves in tough situations that anyone could see themselves in. It is brilliant that the BBC have really pushed to create a space where we can have equal representation both on and off screen.

"I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more perfect project to be my first professional credit, working on such an accommodating set with strong women has been a gift”

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Having returned to BBC Three for its fifth series, 'The Break' is a collaboration between BBC Studios, BBC Writersroom and BBC Three.

You can catch Niamh’s performance in BBC Three’s ‘The Break‘ on IPlayer here.

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