Alex's cue for school

ALEX Sheldon cannot wait to finish his exams – and get back to school!

But the 16-year-old won't be returning to Montgomery High after sitting his GCSEs.

Instead he is off to film his third series of the children's favourite, Grange Hill.

Alex, from Countess Crescent, Bispham, is looking forward to the daily commute to the studio in Liverpool and catching up with old friends on set next month.

"It is a bit like going back to school but because it's such a long break between filming everyone's really changed.

"When I go back this time there will be new first years and they'll seem really young, just like with school," said Alex, who plays cheeky Ed Booth.

With storylines ranging from protecting a pal from bullies to typical schoolboy mischief, Alex is hoping for more development of his character in the next series, which will be on screens in January.

"I'd like to do more emotional stuff and I wouldn't mind seeing the character get a girlfriend.

"The storylines are quite good but I am playing someone a couple of years younger than myself so the way he deals with things is different to what I would do."

The youngster has come a long way since his first singing and dancing lessons at the age of three.

Taking up stage work with the Layton-based Tiptoes Theatre Casting Agency, Alex has gone from the summer season on North Pier to the lead in Aladdin in Blackburn this Christmas.

Now he rubs shoulders with the Hollyoaks cast, who film at the same location, a full mock-up of a school with real classrooms and corridors with some of the sets used by the Chester-based show.

"I don't know any of them but we see the Hollyoaks cast a lot, that's the bit my mates are most interested in, not my acting – but the girls from Hollyoaks.

"It has been weird since starting the show because I get recognised everywhere, even on holiday in Tenerife.

"The girls try to get a photo with me but the lads usually ask for an autograph. I used to find it really embarrassing but I'm getting used to it a bit more now.

"At school some of the younger pupils think it's cool when they recognise me but most people aren't bothered anymore.

"School has been great helping me keep up with work while I'm filming, but I'm still worried about the exams."

Sister Emma, 14, has been helping Alex with his maths homework in between taking her own performing arts lessons at Tiptoes.

Dad Len and mum Sue are extremely proud of their young star.

Sue said: "When the agent called to say Alex had the Grange Hill part I had to sit down, it was really exciting. He has worked really hard and we're very proud of him."

heather.butler@blackpoolgazette.co.uk