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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Downton Abbey cameo a dream come true for former Barrow actress

BEING one of just five female helicopter pilots in the army, there were many situations which led to a gasp for Elaine Caulfield – but her sharp intake of air in a Christmas TV special may be her most memorable.

The actress, who grew up in Barrow and is a former Barrow Grammar School pupil, appeared in Christmas Day’s Downton Abbey festive special.

In her own words the part was a ‘blink and you will miss it’ moment but she said the privilege of appearing in one of her favourite TV programmes was ‘fantastic’.

She said: “I spent five days filming and it’s probably a case of blink and you will miss it.

“I gasp once and I don’t have dialogue but I absolutely adore the show.”

The 46-year-old, who now lives in Wiltshire, said she was overawed by the efforts of the cast and crew working 14 hour shifts on set. Despite her adoration for the show she said she was character struck rather than starstruck until she was working on the set of the Muppets’ latest film, Muppets Most Wanted.

“I went to Pinewood Studios and I had no idea they (the Muppets) would be there, as soon as I saw them I got butterflies,” she added.

After taking on her first acting role in March 2012 Ms Caulfield has worked with an array of stars and her credits already include appearances in Doctor Who, Casualty, Trollied and a number of TV commercials.

She said: “This is what I do as my full-time job now, some of the roles are extras work but as time has gone on I have picked up more.”

Ms Caulfield started to develop her taste for the stage after drama lessons with am-dram veteran David Marcus and said the leap from the armed forces into acting hasn’t been as alien as some might think.

She added: “There are a lot of transferable skills – I had to get up in the middle of the night and stand around in the cold and I can speak in front of a lot of people, in a way that is similar to acting.” Next year Ms Caulfield will appear in a movie with Hollywood star Tom Cruise called Edge of Tomorrow. She remained tight-lipped about the film but described Mr Cruise as a ‘perfect gentleman’. She will appear in a six-part BBC drama The Ark in 2014 along with a mystery project involving ‘a lot of Hollywood stars’.

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