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STUART TAYLOR BLOG: Stars take to Twitter to praise Stella peformance by Ffion Gwyther

By StuartTaylor  |  Posted: February 21, 2014

  • Swansea-born actor Craig Gallivan with Ffion Gwyther.

  • Ffion Gwyther pictured with her mother Susie and Stella character Auntie Brenda

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MOST teenagers would be forgiven for being a nervous wreck if they were about star in hit TV comedy drama Stella — Llanelli's Ffion Gwyther took it all in her stride.

"I was only a tiny bit nervous but I had learned the lines to my part which helped," said Ffion.

The Ammanford college student, who is set to celebrate her 18th birthday next Wednesday, appeared in Sky 1's bafta nominated programme last Friday and proved a big hit.

Swansea-born actor Craig Gallivan, who plays Luke in the show, tweeted: "What a superstar. Me and Gem were cheering her on. Superb xx!"

He was just one of many who took to Twitter to praise the former Bryngwyn Comprehensive pupil on her performance.

Karen Paullada, who plays Nadine tweeted: "The star of tonight's Stella, Ffion, brilliant x"

So what was the best part of filming on set for Ffion who has Down's Syndrome?

"The best bit of filming was just the fun we had but the food was great too," said the member of Interact, a theatre group, which is part of the Stagecoach Charitable Trust.

No stranger to the stage, Ffion already has plenty of acting experience having stared in Bryngwyn school's productions of Oliver and Schools Will Rock You.

"Stella was great fun and everyone was so lovely, especially, Ruth, Steve (Big Al)" and the people who play Nadine, Ianto and Auntie Brenda."

"Dai Davies was really funny and kept singing to me to make me laugh!"

"I even met Ruth and had my photo taken with her — she was so lovely."

As if being a budding actress wasn't enough, Ffion also excels in lots of other activities.

"I have been dancing since I was five. I started ballet at first but I do ballroom now."

When Ffion says she does some dancing she is understating it a bit, she doesn't just dance for enjoyment.

"I have won gold medals for ballroom and I really love dancing."

"Oh and I do like horse riding. I've been learning for about a year now and ride a pony called Teddy."

While Ffion clearly loved staring in Stella, and says her favourite actor is Ace Bhatti and she loves Maxine Evans, from Stella, who plays Rhian, she admits her moment in the spotlight has taken a bit of getting used to.

"It felt funny watching myself on Telly. I kept saying my lines with my character," she said.

"I love going to Ammanford College and now even the tutors are asking for my autograph!"

Ffion may well have gained an army of admirers on the back of her Stella performance but her parents remain her No.1 fans.

"Any parent would be enormously proud of their daughter having such an opportunity," said her mother Susie.

"When Ffion was born I was told she was unlikely to walk, talk, express herself or move freely. That came from a hospital specialist."

"How wrong can people be? She has gone way beyond the initial prognosis to appearing in a hit TV comedy drama — so yes you could say our pride is somewhat magnified," she added.

Most people judge and get judged from time to time, but when you have a disability being judged, rightly or wrong, is a common theme.

"I was really impressed with the Stella script. It showed Ffion exactly how she is without sentimentality or the 'pity' factor. It concentrated on the ability not the disability," added Susie.

"This world is made up of people who are different in many ways — wherever possible that should be embraced appropriately and sensitively."

"Well written TV scripts like the one written by Ruth Jones for Stella is an excellent way of tackling stigma and prejudice."

"I just hope that Ffi's appearance on the show will start to erode the myth that individuals with a disability have little to give. My daughter has brought families together, educated people and gives more love and pleasure than can be measured," added Susie.

While dancing, horse riding and college would keep most people busy it seems Ffion has her sights set on further acting roles.

"If I could act in anything it would be EastEnders or Coronation Street or my favourite programme Casualty," said Ffion.

You would be silly to bet against this bright young actress from achieving her dreams.

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  • Neathgirl17  |  February 21 2014, 12:08PM

    What a fantastic young lady! Her performance was natural and confident, I wish her every success in her acting career! Go Ffion!

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