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Sheppey actor Phil Goldacre in new BBC TV drama His Dark Materials

If you blinked you might have missed him but Sheppey actor Phil Goldacre was in the first episode of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

Phil, from Cliff Gardens, Minster, was the sub rector of Jordan College, Oxford, in BBC One's new Sunday night TV drama. Viewers saw him in a wheelchair studying a skull presented by hero Lord Asriel, played by James McAvoy.

Sheppey actor Phil Goldacre, seated, as sub-rector of Jordan College, Oxford, in His Dark Materials with James McAvoy. Picture: BBC TV
Sheppey actor Phil Goldacre, seated, as sub-rector of Jordan College, Oxford, in His Dark Materials with James McAvoy. Picture: BBC TV

Phil, 65, admitted: "If you blinked, you would have missed me. Some of my scene ended on the cutting room floor but at least I got my name on the first page of the credits!"

He recorded his part over two days on a film set in Cardiff in March 2018 but had been sworn to secrecy until the eight-part fantasy adventure had a broadcast date.

Phil, who had his right leg amputated because of his Type 2 diabetes in 2015, auditioned over the internet.

He said: "My agent emailed me, sent me the script and I recorded a self-tape video using my laptop's camera. There was no tramping up to London for an audition."

Director Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) quickly snapped him up.

Sheppey actor Phil Goldacre
Sheppey actor Phil Goldacre

The Sittingbourne-born actor who went to Borden Grammar School has since lost his left leg below the knee in July after three bouts of sepsis and now has two artificial legs.

He admitted: “It’s been a bit of a long haul but I’m almost recovered from having my other leg amputated.

"It’s been harder to learn to walk again than it was when I had one leg working.

“People need to be warned about the dangers of sepsis. It can strike any time to anybody. It very nearly killed me twice. I’m very lucky.”

The former lorry driver has previously warned people in the past about the dangers of diabetes.

Sheppey actor Phil Goldacre has now lost both legs because of diabetes
Sheppey actor Phil Goldacre has now lost both legs because of diabetes

He added: "The cast and crew were very friendly and wanted to know if I found it difficult to get work. Strangely, I have been offered more because I'm in a smaller niche.

"They say every cloud has a silver lining but sometimes you have to look a bit harder."

His first acting role was as a copper in the Merseyside soap Brookside in 1984.

He later played assistant to the BBC’s Director General in The Vision, a 1987 TV film about the birth of television.

He has been on Crimewatch and The Bill and last year made his debut with the National Theatre.

Sheppey actor Phil Goldacre, seated, as sub-rector of Jordan College, Oxford, in His Dark Materials with James McAvoy. Picture: BBC TV
Sheppey actor Phil Goldacre, seated, as sub-rector of Jordan College, Oxford, in His Dark Materials with James McAvoy. Picture: BBC TV

The eight-part fantasy, made by the BBC and HBO, also stars Ruth Wilson (The Affair) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns).

Dafne Keen, who played Wolverine’s daughter in Marvel’s Logan, is orphan girl Lyra.

The series is based on three novels, Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass and is set initially in Oxford in a pre-industrial parallel universe where people are accompanied by souls in animal form called daemons.

Read more: All the latest news from the Isle of Sheppey

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