A TAUNTON man is playing the leading role in ITV's Second World War period drama The Halcyon.

Actor Edward Bluemel, who attended Taunton School from pre-prep right through to the senior school until he left in 2011, is cast as Toby Hamilton in the series, which airs on Monday evenings.

Somerset County Gazette:

Edward Bluemel as Toby Hamilton.

And everyone at his old school is watching his performance with great interest - especially as his parents both teacher there, with father Martin head of chemistry and mother Jane a physics teacher.

Edward has paid tribute to the grounding he received in acting at Taunton School.

He said: "When I was at Taunton School, the drama department was under the reign of the inspirational Meryl Smart and theatre productions ranging from Shakespeare to musicals were put on with real passion and dedication.

"It was taken very seriously and it was because of this that I really started to believe that pursuing acting as a career could be more than just a wild fantasy as young actors are often led to believe.”

The Halcyon is set in 1940 and shows London life through the prism of war and the impact it has on families, politics, relationships and work across every social strain.

Edward’s character, Toby, is described as “having lived his life under the shadow of Freddie, the elder twin".

The producers add: "He's sharp, clever and gifted with a promising academic career, but the lack of love from his father has left him bitter and at odds with the Hamilton name.

"We meet him during a time of great transition as he grapples with his romantic feelings and forges his own path in wartime London.”

During his time at Taunton School, Edward had major parts in a number of productions, playing roles such as Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Enjolras in Les Miserables.

He attended a RADA foundation course in acting after leaving school, then achieved a BA (hons) in acting in the summer of 2015 from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Edward performed roles such as Leontes in The Winter’s Tale in his final year at the Royal Welsh College and was awarded the Laurence Olivier Bursary.

As well as his latest role, he has also had a one-episode part in Holby City and one of the leading parts in a film, Access all Areas, which is due to be released later this year.