A FORMER soap actress and West End stage star made a surprise appearance in a community during filming of a new TV show.
Former Brookside actress Jennifer Ellison, who more recently has made a name for herself in musicals like Chicago, was at Blackhall Community Centre with a TV crew on Sunday, June 22.
She runs the Jennifer Ellison Fame Academy, in Liverpool, which is to feature in a new programme called Dance Mums.
It is the British version of American reality series Dance Moms, which follows the early careers of children in dance and showbusiness, as well as the participation of their mothers. Also at the event was top choreographer Tim Noble, who puts together routines for the likes of Kylie, Madonna and Beyonce.
Tim used the event to raise money for the South Tyneside-based Charlie Cookson Foundation, which provides support to families with seriously-ill children.
Pupils from Hartlepool’s Debbie Barrass Academy of Performing Arts were also at the event, along with scores of other starlets from across the region.
Centre manager Alison Paterson said a friend of Tim had recommended the centre, which is a former miners’ hall, to him.
The show is set to be aired in the autumn and comes after the centre was used in April for filming of BBC1 children’s Great War commemorative drama Harriet’s Army,
Alison said: “It just mean’s Blackhall is getting put on the map. Debbie loved the venue and that will probably generate more business for us from Hartlepool.
“It feels like we are throwing the net further and attracting more business. The day was a lot of hard work with a 7am start. Having something like this here is like recognition for what we have been trying to achieve with the centre.”