AN Innerleithen schoolgirl is set to make her acting debut next month – on prime time radio along with stars such as Jason Donovan and Toby Jones.
Molly Mae McCusker will appear in the radio adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s best-selling novel, Alone on the Wide Wide Sea.
The seven-year-old from St Ronan’s Primary had never set foot on a stage prior to landing the role.
The four-part play will be broadcast in 30 minute episodes each day during the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2.
As well as Harry Potter and Sherlock star Toby Jones and Australian chart-topper Jason Donovan, the radio drama will also feature cameo appearances from the author as well as Sky at Night presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock.
But central to the entire story are the orphans who are transported to Australia.
Molly Mae, who plays one of the cockney kids and features in all four episodes, became involved with the project after her musician dad, John, wrote and recorded the score as well as many of the original songs for the drama.
John told us: “Molly Mae plays the part of the young singer.
“It’s her first time appearing in any play.
“She had to learn a cockney accent and also sing London Bridge is Falling Down as a London kid.
“Molly Mae sings in all four programmes.”
Dad John and mum, Heidi Talbot, are widely recognised as being at the forefront of contemporary folk music.
Having toured with some of the biggest names in music, the Traquair-based husband and wife are no strangers to taking to stages around the world.
And their daughter looks set to follow them after landing her first role as a transported orphan.
Between 1869 and 1970 around 100,000 British children were sent overseas – without their parents – by leading British churches and charities to new lives in Australia and Canada.
Michael Morpurgo’s story, which was adapted for radio by Ian McMillan, tells of the adventures of two child migrants, Arthur and Marty, who are dispatched from London to a working farm in the Australian outback.
Lewis Carnie, head of Radio 2, said: “I’m delighted BBC Radio 2 is bringing such distinctive drama and music to the heart of our daytime schedule.
“The powerful and engaging writing of Michael Morpurgo will be beautifully brought to life by the superb cast.”
The 30-minute episodes will be broadcast across four days during Jeremy Vine’s show, from 1.30pm to 2pm, from Monday, August 7 to Thursday, August 10.