Teenage actor Nicki Shepherd has enjoyed a taste of soap stardom and now he wants more.
The 18-year-old recently appeared in Emmerdale as ‘Ted,’ a young man with cerebral palsy. His character meets with Megan Macey, played by Gaynor Faye, at a support group to help her, along with Jai Sharma, played by Chris Bisson, as they come to terms with their daughter Eliza’s condition.
Blessed Trinity Roman Catholic College IT apprentice Nicki had a role for two episodes of the popular soap and now he hopes it is a stepping stone to bigger acting roles.
He said: "I loved it.
“It has really boosted my confidence in terms of acting.”
Nicki, who was born with cerebral palsy, has always wanted to be an actor and admits his love of different characters started when he was young.
“On my way to physio sessions when I was younger, I used to be a different character in the car each time, all the way there and back.
"I must have drove my parents mad!” said Nicki.
He went to Burnley Youth Theatre when he was around eight-years-old and then joined the prestigious Carol Godby Theatre Workshop in Bury where a number of soap stars began their career.
He has appeared in the 4 O’Clock Club on CBBC as well as various adverts but Ted was his first major role.
Nicki added: “I got a call over the summer to go for an audition for Emmerdale and I just thought I would go along for experience.
“I got the script, rehearsed up to the audition and then turned up at the audition in Leeds where there were a dozen people with varying degrees of cerebral palsy.
“I wasn’t sure how I had done but then I got a call back and I was so happy. I knew I was down to the last few which I felt was an achievement in itself as I was up against some people who had appeared in more than just the adverts that I had.
“I went again, with a modified script, and then couldn’t believe it when they said I had got it. It was a dream come true.
“I feel really privileged to work on such a powerful storyline about cerebral palsy and I’m glad that ITV trusted me to play a part in such an important storyline.
“I think it’s important that people with disabilities are represented in soaps and it was a great opportunity for me to show this.”
Nicki appeared in two episodes last month alongside the regular cast.
“They were all so nice,” added Nicki, who lives in Nelson. “It’s given me a taste of being a soap actor and I really enjoyed it.
“I enjoy my job as an IT apprentice at Blessed Trinity but my first love is acting. I came back to school and everyone was saying ‘I say you in Emmerdale’ and I felt like a celebrity. I even got asked for my autograph at the Trafford Centre."