Seaham mum features in Bafta-nominated I, Daniel Blake

Julie Nicholson with Ken Loach
Julie Nicholson with Ken Loach
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A Seaham mum says she had the ‘experience of a lifetime’ starring in a Bafta-nominated Ken Loach film.

Julie Nicholson 43, plays a madame in critically-acclaimed I, Daniel Blake, which is up for five Baftas at next month’s ceremony.

Julie Nicholson

Julie Nicholson

Working with respected British filmmaker Ken Loach, who is famed for his gritty social realism, was a dream come true for Julie who juggles acting roles with working as a receptionist.

“It was an incredible experience and the chance of a lifetime working with a director as brilliant as Ken Loach, “ she said.

Julie, who is a single mum to Alexander, nine, says the film - which has been nominated for Film of the Year, British/Irish Film of the Year, British/Irish Actor of the Year and British/Irish Actress of the Year at this year’s Baftas - struck a chord with her own situation.

She explained: “I auditioned in Newcastle and then had the call back with Ken Loach who was the sweetest, most humble man I have ever met. He truly understood how hard it was being a single parent and trying to get work. At the time I wasn’t working and was going through a very similar situation as Hayley Squires (who plays the role of Katie) brilliantly portrays in the movie.

“We need someone like Ken running this country, he truly understands the hardship people have to go through.”

Set in Newcastle, the film tells the tale of Daniel Blake, who has worked as a joiner for most of his life but has found himself, for the first time ever, in need of help from the State.

He crosses paths with single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan, who all find themselves caught up in welfare bureaucracy in modern-day Britain.

Julie said: “I play one of the supporting roles. I meet one of the main characters who asks my character for help in a pub and she finds her work as an escort. Ken believed in me and I thank him so much for the chance he gave me.”

Released last summer, the film has already scooped the coveted Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

The role is the latest for Julie who has appeared in TV shows Byker Grove, Vera and Tracy Beaker, as well as in British films An Unfortunate Woman and Dolls.