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May 2024

adult acting lessons

How Being An Extra Could Be A Step To Becoming Famous

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There are many ways to get into acting, with being an extra offering a simple route that, for some, could provide a path to fame.

For one man from Yorkshire that has proven true, albeit in a rather unusual way. Michael Beechcroft, who is now 84, worked as both a traffic warden and an occasional extra, with one harrowing image that combined the two making him famous while retaining his anonymity.

Mr Beechcroft was pictured on the front of the Radio Times in 1984 as an armed man in a traffic warden’s uniform, but with a bandaged-up face, to represent the BBC docudrama Threads, about a nuclear attack on Sheffield and its aftermath.

Following an appeal, BBC documentary makers have now managed to trace his identity and track him down.

“I didn’t do anything other than the 30 second shot of me with the rifle shouting some swear words,” he said of his brief moment in the sun – or, in this case, the onset of a nuclear winter.

He added: “Afterwards, they took some pictures of me and I went home and didn’t think anything else of it. It was just a day’s work as far as I was concerned.”

For Mr Beechcroft, there was never an ambition to become a famous actor. But if you are taking adult acting lessons, working as an extra may help you take things further. It will familiarise you with the film and TV industry and may give you a chance to interact with actors and producers, bringing everything from handy advice to networking opportunities.

If you happen to be the extra whose face (ideally not covered with makeshift bandages) gets some extra coverage, this could be advantageous, provided you don’t want to slip back into a life of anonymity.

For a production so notorious for its apocalyptic horror, Threads was characterised by its use of relatively unknown actors, although some of them did gain wider fame. For example, Reece Dinsdale, whose character apparently dies in the nuclear blast, later starred in Coronation Street and Life on Mars.