Joanne Froggatt to star in Robin Hood

LITTLEBECK actress Joanne Froggatt is to star in the new series of the BBC's big budget version of Robin Hood.

The 27-year-old, who attended Sleights Primary School and Eskdale School, saw off fierce competition for a coveted role in the Saturday night prime time family drama.

Joanne, whose parents Ann and Keith still live in Littlebeck, has been filming in Hungary for the past three months for her role as village girl Kate who lives in Loxley.

Her character will be seen for the first time in the second episode of series three which should hit our screens later this year.

Robin Hood was last on our screens for the New Year special when Robin Hood's sweetheart Maid Marian, played by actor Lucy Griffiths, was tragically killed in the Holy Land.

Although Jo was playing her cards close to her chest with regards to plotlines for series three she did say her character Kate leaves the village of Loxley and joins up with Robin Hood and his outlaws in the forest after falling foul of the Sheriff of Nottingham and Sir Guy of Gisborne.

Since arriving in the 'Sherwood Forest' set, in Budapest, Hungary, she has been rubbing shoulders with the show's stars Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood), Richard Armitage (Sir Guy of Gisborne) and Keith Allen (The Sheriff of Nottingham).

Joanne, who still has another three months' work in Hungary, took a break from filming to tell the Gazette: "Everyone has been really fantastic since I started filming.

"I've got to know them really well in the three months I have been here and they have made me feel welcome.

"Being out here for so long I have not been able to get home too much which I miss but although it can be hard work out here it is so much fun.

"I get to wear amazing period costumes and I've been doing some fighting in the forest.

"In one scene I had to kick one of the actors in the stomach – it had gone really well in previous goes but in the last one I somehow managed to split his lip and he needed three stitches.

"I felt so bad I nearly cried but he was really good about it!

"Apart from that everything is brilliant – the location is beautiful and the weather has been amazing – the temperatures have been reaching 37 degrees."

Her role is a far cry from some of her previous work – last year she appeared at the Old Vic Theatre alongside stage greats such as Diana Rigg, Eleanor Bron and Lesley Manville in the first English language adaption of a Pedro Almodovar film, All About My Mother, in London's West End.

That followed performances as Joanna Lees in the television adaption of the true life murder of Peter Falconio and as Myra Hindley's sister in a TV drama about the moors murders.

She also played the role of Danielle Cable, whose fiance Stephen Cameron was murdered in a road-rage incident in 1996, for which she was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award for best female actor.

Joanne, who is now based in London, added: "This role in Robin Hood is more commerical than a lot of the other work I have done since I left Coronation Street.

“I wanted to do something a little bit different and this opportunity came up.

“The viewing figures are really good and it will be nice to be involved in something the whole family can watch.”

l While we will have to wait to see Joanne in Robin Hood, you can catch her soon in a brand-new BBC Three drama Spooks: Code 9.

In the Spooks spin-off, Joanne plays Hannah – one of six new MI5 recruits brought in to protect Britain’s future in 2013 – and you can see the first part of the new six-episode series next Sunday at 9pm.