Young stars take first step with talent contest

Northern Star Final's Judges Ashley J Russell a finalist in BBC's I'd Do Anything, Shrek and Mamma Mia! with Blackpool's own stars Dan Whiston from Dancing On Ice and Kelsey Beth Crossley from The Voice and Emmerdale at Viva Blackpool.'2nd August 2015
Northern Star Final's Judges Ashley J Russell a finalist in BBC's I'd Do Anything, Shrek and Mamma Mia! with Blackpool's own stars Dan Whiston from Dancing On Ice and Kelsey Beth Crossley from The Voice and Emmerdale at Viva Blackpool.'2nd August 2015
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Teenage talents put their best feet forward to be named Northern Star 2015 at Viva in Blackpool.

The 32 finalists were brought together by Blackpool musical actor Ashley Luke Lloyd, as he hopes to find the next big thing in stage talent.

His special guest judges on the day were all long-time performers, Blackpool’s Dancing On Ice pro Dan Whiston and Fleetwood’s ex-Emmerdale actress and The Voice 2014 contestant Kelsey Beth Crossley.

Also on the panel is actress and singer Ashley J Russell, a finalist in the BBC’s I’d Do Anything TV talent search, which was eventually won by Blackpool’s Jodie Prenger.

Ashley appeared last summer in the cast of Mamma Mia! at the Opera House, alongside Ashley Luke.

Heats took place across the North West, taking in the Lake District, Cumbria, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Blackpool with the winner at Sunday’s showcase, Caitlen Edmondson, hailing from the Lakes.

“We had such great feedback from the event,” Ashley said. “It was fantastic to give these children a chance to get up and perform at a venue like Viva with a full house 
audience.

“With the big screens and all the lights, they said it was like being on The X Factor.”

He set up the competition based on his own experience of the theatre industry, performing professionally in musicals since the age of 10.