How West End and TV star Sheridan Smith went from Baby Jane to Mrs Biggs - via Benidorm
Sheridan Smith – a very successful TV and stage actress for some years – was first tipped for stardom not by a leading theatre critic in the national press but by the Scunthorpe Telegraph.
Sheridan, now 31, grew up in Epworth and as a child star she regularly hit the headlines in
In recent years her TV performances in shows like The Royle Family, Benidorm and Two Pints of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps have been watched by millions of fans, while her latest project playing Mrs Biggs in the story of the great train robber is widely anticipated.
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Awards have included best actress in a musical for Legally Blonde at the 2011 Laurence Olivier Awards.
But back in September 1992 things were a little different.
In the first notice about her in the Scunthorpe Telegraph cuttings library, Sheridan, 11, was described as a little lady with a big talent.
"Audiences should watch out for Sheridan, there is no doubt that the petite girl from the Isle of Axholme is a star of the future," the reviewer said as she won the Cleethorpes junior talent contest grand final.
November, 20 years ago, produced "an outstanding performance for one so young" as she played the orphan girl in Annie at the Hull New Theatre.
The pupil of the Joyce Mason School of Dance in Ashby stepped into the limelight in 1993 by playing Baby Jane in the Northern Theatre Company's production of Gypsy.
In April 1994 she won the bursary award for the most promising competitor in the Scunthorpe Dance Festival at the Plowright Theatre.
There was a touch of festive disappointment that winter when, after five years of performing in the annual John Spillers pantomime, Sheridan was said to be the wrong height to take part again.
Instead, she landed a part in the Christmas production at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.
In October 1995 the Telegraph reported that dreams of Broadway stardom were to come Sheridan's way – thanks to a little help from a friendly local policeman.
Sheridan, 14, won a place with the National Youth Music Theatre in its New York show, Pendragon, after being picked from hundreds of hopefuls.
But before she could join the cast out in the States, a court order had to be secured to allow her to travel.
Only one court in the country, in Bow Street, London, could pass such an order.
But when the necessary papers ended up in the wrong place, Scunthorpe police stepped in to straighten things out and ensure the show would go on for Sheridan.
Licensing officer Pc Roy Stapleton explained the law was there to protect young people working aboard.
The Broadway show was a huge success, winning rave reviews.
The New York Times asked: "Where do all these skilled British actors come from?"
Sheridan's performance in 1997 in Bugsy Malone won her further praise in the UK. The Times newspaper reviewer said: "Smith's Tallulah has a far stronger and subtler voice than one has a right to expect of a 16-year-old."
Updating readers 15 years ago on Sheridan's career, the Scunthorpe Telegraph said: "The next stage will be to find an agent based in the south and the career of the 16-year-old from Epworth looks set to go ballistic."