Though just 12-years-old, Jesse Magee has already totted up a lengthy acting CV and is set for a leading role in hit TV show Call the Midwife this weekend.
A pupil at Killicomaine Junior High School, the Portadown boy is thoroughly enjoying life on the box and has ambitions for a career on the silver screen.
Jesse was inspired by his father Jonny who has been an extra on various shows including Game of Thrones for several years. Jonny, a self-employed joiner, was able to fit in the extra work due to his work flexibility and often spoke to his son about how exciting and fun it was.
Jesse said: “When I was old enough I asked him to register me with The Extras Dept. and things took off from there. I started off doing background work in a few movies, ‘High Rise’ and ‘The Lost City of Z’ and I realised how much I enjoyed the experience of being on set. I then got the opportunity to do a few auditions through Carla Stronge Casting for some acting roles. Since then I have been having the best time ever!”
“The part I got in the new season of Call The Midwife is a one off part. I play a boy called Alistair Davidson who moves to London from Northern Ireland with his family to start a new life. I was lucky to film scenes with a lot of the regular cast including Stephen McGann who plays Dr Turner and Linda Bassett who plays Nurse Crane. I also had the best time working with my on screen family, Kelly Campbell who plays my mum and Gerard McCarthy who plays my dad.”
Jesse, whose mum Zoe has also played an extra, said he was invited to audition for the role of Alistair last summer at the Carla Stronge Casting in Belfast and was given the part a few weeks later.
He described auditions as ‘nerve wrecking’ adding: “The hardest audition so far was for the BBC drama ‘The Woman in White’ when I had to say my lines in a Yorkshire accent. Hopefully I will sound alright when it comes out this year!”
Jesse went to Jacquie Keegan’s School of Speech and Drama in Portadown a couple of years ago but gave it up to play football. “I train two nights a week and play on a Saturday for Loughgall Youth FC and I just couldn’t do both.”
“I would love to be a regular cast member in a series like Stranger Things or in a big budget movie. I am really inspired by the young actor Finn Wolfhard who is famous for Stranger Things and the movie ‘IT’. To do something like this would be a dream come true.
“It can be very intense and hard work at times but I absolutely love it. Sometimes it can be nerve wrecking rehearsing my lines with professional actors but they do their best to put me at ease and have a joke with me. Some of the sets are also unbelievable. I have been back in the 1960s with Call the Midwife, the 1970s with High Rise and even as far back as the 1830s in The Frankenstein Chronicles. The more times I am on set, the more comfortable I feel. I don’t want it to end.
He added: “Game of Thrones was my first proper cast role so I was very excited to join the show. My dad has also been a background artist for a number of years and was able to prepare me for life in Westeros. I played a boy called Leo, one of the ‘Little Birds’ who committed a shocking act on one of the regular cast.
Jesse will be in Call the Midwife on Sunday 25 February on BBC1 at 8pm.