A WELL-know actor from Taunton who regularly appears on our TV screens is offering support to budding young people hoping to follow in his footsteps.

Ian McNeice, who plays Bert Large in Doc Martin, has agreed to become a patron of the Arts Taunton charity.

He linked up with the group last year to support its Tyva youth festival.

Ian, a former student at Taunton School, where his love of acting began, jumped at the chance to host the festival virtually.

Scripts were drawn up and a cameraman dispatched after testing negative for Covid-19.

The filming took place in a socially distanced large hotel room with balcony doors and windows open last September.

Ian said: "I look back fondly at the start of my own artistic career and I was delighted to be able to introduce and compere the charity’s Tyca festival in 2020, so much so, that when the charity asked me if I would be happy to stay connected in the form of a patron, I didn’t hesitate.

Arts Taunton founder and trustee Kit Chapman said: "Having a patron on board with Ian's experience and enthusiasm is amazing.

"We feel very honoured and Ian joins a great line up of active patrons and ambassadors, to whom we are immensely grateful."

The charity has just announced the theme for the Tyca Festival 2021 will be Empowerment.