When I was eight, I won a competition for reading out loud. The passage I chose was from The Dare Game, the second Tracy Beaker book. I remember standing in front of my whole school, the purple book in my hands, pigtails bobbing in my peripheral vision. When I was done and I sat down, my body ringing with the applause, my dream was born. Clearly, I was destined for stardom on the stage.
I nursed this dream for another 14 years. I acted in school plays. I was, for my sins, a prolific sketch comedian at university. I performed in the upstairs rooms of pubs and in student theatres all over the country. I remember being backstage in Durham and wondering whether I had time to throw up from nerves in a bucket I’d spotted in the wings, still thinking: this is the life. I am sorry to say that there are, somewhere, a handful of short films that I starred in during my early 20s: kissing people and crying and, God help me, pretending to smoke a joint.