Doncaster schoolboy magician lands big TV role in kids comedy series
With the crowd gathering in the playground at Doncaster’s Ridgewood School, the teachers were concerned a fight may be starting.
Staff were ready to deal with trouble.
But there was no scene of violence. This was just an audience gathering to watch talented Doncaster youngster Brook Exley performing one of his trademark magic tricks.
Brook, aged 15, from, Scawthorpe, is developing a reputation for his tricks, as well as his acting skills which have seen him spread his wings onto the nations television screens.
The scenario at school is one that he recalls, as he develops what he regards as a sideline in conjuring alongside his main love – acting.
This month, he takes that sideline onto the small screen, after CBBC brought him in to one of their main children’s comedy serials, The Secret Life of Boys, about an Australian girl who moves to England into a house full of boys and learns how to fit in and live there.
Brook’s character, Heath Clark, has already appeared three times, as well as in a television movie of the show. He returns in episode five of the current series, called Triangles – but this time producers have brought in his conjuring skills into the plot.
It is the latest role for the teenager.
Mum Heidi says a small boy he always loved fancy dress and changed between Superman, Spiderman and Sporticus costumes.
Then he started going to a summer school with a drama club and landed the lead role as Willy Wonka in their production.
He went on to enrol with the Bentley–based stage school, Let’s Act. He went on to land his first paid work as an actor at around the aged of six in an earlier CBBC show, Harriet’s War, a 1940s period drama filmed at the Beamish museum in the North East.
Since then, he has also appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, where he was praised by judge David Walliams but was not selected for the finals despite having four yes votes, and appeared on the ITV breakfast show Scrambled.
The magic role in The Secret Life of Boys came after the producers stumbled across his conjuring by chance.
His mum, Heidi, said: “They met him when he was off screen, doing magic in the green room. He was just messing about. They decided to write it into the character.”
Brook remembers starting to learn magic in quiet times when he was playing the part of Nathan in a production of the Full Monty, the version starring former Hollyoaks, Eastenders and The Bill actor Gary Lucy. But he does not see it as his main job.
He said: “I started doing magic when I was doing a tour of the Full Monty. I went away for two weeks. Myself and another boy were playing Nathan. While I was in the dressing room I got bored and started learning magic.
“I’ve been doing acting a long time. I’m good at magic but I think acting is going to be more of a future. I really want to be an actor on stage or television, and to do something on the big screen would be great.
“It’s not just professional acting that I do. I’ve done the school productions of Little Shop of Horrors and We Will Rock You.
“But what I’m most proud of is raising £1,000 for charity doing tricks for donations at the Equinox charity ball last year in Doncaster.”
Mum Heidi admits getting on in showbiz is an expensive business. She and husband John, who runs a plumbing business, have to get Brook to auditions in London, often at short notice.
She added: “We’re really proud of Brook. He’s got talent and it is so hard to be better than the next one at the audition.”
In the future, he hopes to audition for the National Youth Theatre, and in the mean time, he is learning to play the violin.