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Heartstopper star Echo from Snodland makes Netflix debut as Nellie Nelson

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A five-year-old border collie from Snodland has burst onto the small screen, starring as Nellie Nelson in Netflix's Heartstopper.

Echo landed the role of Nellie in the heart-warming LGBTQ+ teen series and now has fan clubs across the country and is recognised when out for his walks.

Heartstopper was Echo's first big acting job. Picture: @theresonlyoneecho
Heartstopper was Echo's first big acting job. Picture: @theresonlyoneecho

Echo's owner, 39-year-old Leonie, is so proud of her pup and was shocked at the reaction following the series release last month.

She said: "My dogs do agility and we travel all over the country competing and a lady came up to me and said we should consider putting them on screen.

"Around four years ago my dog Thunder started doing bits and pieces and that's how we got into it.

"All of my dogs do adverts and photography - they've been in shoots for Gucci, GTech and Hive heating."

However, this is by far the biggest gig yet, with Echo appearing in five out of eight episodes in the hit series.

Leonie's beloved pups have been in many adverts for the likes of Gucci and Hive. Picture: @theresonlyoneecho
Leonie's beloved pups have been in many adverts for the likes of Gucci and Hive. Picture: @theresonlyoneecho

The show has many connections to the county - it was filmed in Herne Bay and creator Alice Oseman is from Chatham.

The show was based on a series of best-selling graphic novels and there are hints of Alice's home town throughout the show.

The St George Hotel on New Road Avenue is featured in both the book and the Netflix series.

Nellie Nelson plays a key part in the show and is the reason the two main characters fall in love, as Nick Nelson invites Charlie Spring over to meet his beloved pet.

The series featured in the Netflix 'Top 10' and is highly rated by critics, but Leonie had no idea just how popular the show would become.

The gorgeous dog has been recognised when out on his walks. Picture: @theresonlyoneecho
The gorgeous dog has been recognised when out on his walks. Picture: @theresonlyoneecho

She said: "I just had a call saying that there was this Netflix show called Evergreen about two gay teenagers who fall in love.

"I thought it sounded great and Nellie went along with his agent to the shoot because of Covid-19 restrictions, so I actually didn't see any of it.

"He went away and even stayed in a hotel for four days but he was very well looked after - they have a vet on site that checks them every half hour to check they're not stressed or anything like that."

Like a true professional, Echo was put through his paces on set but according to the crew he was "a very good boy".

"There was one time where he had to sit in the same position for 20 minutes because the camera broke and if he moved it would ruin the shot," Leonie explained.

She continued: "He doesn't mind the cameras in his face and the recording stuff all over him.

"He's brilliant, you know he just sits there and will let anybody do anything - he's so friendly."

Leonie actually only found out the true name of the series a couple of weeks prior to it being released.

She said: "I think it’s brilliant that there’s something finally on TV to show that it’s okay to be gay - I'm so proud to be a small part of it.

"We're hoping that Echo will be cast as Nellie again if they produce more series."

Nellie Nelson has fan clubs on social media, with one admirer even getting a tattoo of the dog.

Locally, Echo is even recognised when he's out for his walks and people will stop for pictures.

Leonie continued: "We went to Paws in the Park at the weekend and actually, fans came up to echo and recognised him straight away.

"One girl even started crying because it meant so much to her to meet him, it was just insane, I couldn't believe it."

Since Heartstopper, Echo has already been in another secret photoshoot and is raring to step in front of the camera again.

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