I'm so proud of my 'monstrous' son!

First published in News by

NOT many mothers would describe their sons as monsters. But a woman in Tuckton has been left with no choice after her son landed the lead role in a new adaptation of Frankenstein to be screened on ITV1 at 9pm on Wednesday, October 24.

Irene Bleach spoke to the Daily Echo to tell people in Bournemouth how proud she is of her talented boy. "He's lead a charmed life," said Irene Bleach of her son, the former Summerbee school pupil Julian Bleach.

But encased beneath a mask of stage make-up that took four hours to apply, Julian is unrecognisable even to his own mother. "I don't recognise him at all. He looks horrible!" joked Mrs Bleach of the publicity photograph released by the film's producers.

Julian will star alongside Lindsay Duncan and James Purefoy in a new twist on the classic gothic tale.

Emmy-award winning director Tim Haines cast Julian as the monster for the radical take on Mary Shelley's classic tale of misplaced scientific ambition.

"Mary Shelley is buried in Bournemouth, which is another connection with the town," said Mrs Bleach. The great novelist is buried in the churchyard of St Peter's Church, in Hinton Road.

This year he has acted in other forthcoming television productions, including Torchwood, in which he plays the Ghostmaster.

Starring roles are nothing new to Julian who earlier this year appeared opposite Patrick Stewart in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of The Tempest. The Bournemouth actor played Ariel at the world famous Stratford Theatre. And subsequently acted in Anthony and Cleopatra.

"To perform at the RSC is quite an achievement," said Mrs Bleach.

Julian left Summerbee school at 16 to study drama at Poole college. "From there he went to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art," said she added.

Acting was only Julian's second ambition. "When he was three, he returned from a visit to a farm wanting to be a farmer. When he realised that meant getting up early, he decided to be a clown," said Mrs Bleach.

But Echo readers who tune in to Julian's terrifying performance as the most famous monster in literature will find laughter in short supply.

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