Talented students become Happy Valley stars

Cori Love 16 and James Senneck 15, pupils at Ryburn Valley High, have parts in Happy Valley.
Cori Love 16 and James Senneck 15, pupils at Ryburn Valley High, have parts in Happy Valley.

Two talented youngsters from Calderdale will become stars of the small screen when Happy Valley premieres next month.

Flying the flag for Ryburn Valley High School, pupils James Senneck and Cori Love both appear in the much anticipated new series.

James plays Ben Wadsworth, the son of key characters DI John Wadsworth (Kevin Doyle) and Amanda Wadsworth (Julie Hesmondhalgh), and Cori stars in a non-speaking role.

After looking at the school for a location, auditions were held in the summer holidays for the parts.

Cori, 16, said: “I filmed for one day for about five hours, but it was a really fantastic experience.

“In between the takes I was speaking to Sarah Lancashire, who was giving me careers advice.”

James, 15, added: “It was a brilliant experience. The cast were fantastic and would ask me how I was doing, I was really grateful.

“We’ve made some really good contacts. It’s something we want to pursue and it’s opened up a lot of things for us. I just can’t wait for it to come out now.”

The pair, who both study drama at GCSE level, went to Copley Primary School together and caught the acting bug during a school production of West Side Story.

“We were rivals in West Side Story, but we looked at each other after it finished and we knew straight away that it was something we wanted to do,” James said.

Some Happy Valley scenes were shot in Ryburn Valley High School, with around 80 students being cast as extras.

Triestina Bozzo, head of the school’s creative arts faculty, said: “One morning, school went on as normal apart from these 80 or so students who were going over and over Cori’s scene.

“It was a really good experience for staff and students.”

And speaking about the school’s stars James and Cori, Miss Bozzo added: “They are very special. They have a natural talent and ability.”