Freya, 6, has screen debut in thriller Shetland

Freya has won fans for her role in Shetland but she won't see it all. Picture: Jane Barlow
Freya has won fans for her role in Shetland but she won't see it all. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A PINT-SIZED performer is set to make her screen debut in a gritty Scottish crime thriller next week – but won’t be allowed to watch it.

Little Freya Monk, six, was cherry-picked from hundreds of child actors to feature in the BBC1 show Shetland, a murder mystery series being broadcast across the UK.

But the parents of the budding star, who lives in Gullane, insist she is too young to watch the adult-themed drama which screens at 9pm on Sundays, an hour or so after the youngster’s bedtime.

The Loretto Junior School pupil was unexpectedly catapulted on to TV screens despite having no formal acting lessons.

The closest she has come to hobnobbing in showbiz circles was at school plays and a handful of catalogue shoots she secured through the Glasgow modelling agency that brokered her screen debut.

Freya plays Kitty, the daughter of a central character in Shetland, and is set to appear in this Sunday’s episode.

The six-part series stars Douglas Henshall, 48, who has also starred in Primeval, Holby actress Alison O’Donnell and acclaimed film actor Brian Cox, 67.

Speaking to the News, Freya beamed about her maiden role on British television. She said: “I had lots of fun playing Kitty. The other actors, especially Douglas, were all very nice to me.

“It was exciting travelling on the plane to Shetland, it is a beautiful island with lots of puffins.”

Dad Iain said Freya also enjoyed shooting on location at a farm near Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, but he would shield her from the murderous plotlines contained in Shetland.

He said: “There’s nothing particularly scary about the scenes she is in but there are a lot of adult themes that aren’t suitable for a six-year-old so she won’t be watching the programme because it’s also on too late for her when she has school the next day.”

Mr Monk, a communications manager at the Scottish Parliament, said he may record the show and let her watch the snippets when she is on screen.

He added: “She was very relaxed for someone with no training and is a very personable wee girl.

“The director and actors were delighted with her and thought she was a very sweet charming girl.

“We’re not sure if Freya will be interested in acting in the future, but it has been a wonderful opportunity for her.”

Nicola Coleman, a drama teacher of early years music and drama at Loretto Junior School, is on tenterhooks ahead of her pupil’s appearance.

She said: “Freya is a wonderfully natural actress, and very talented for her age, but she is also incredibly modest and does not show off about her achievements or abilities at all. She approaches everything with great enthusiasm, and I am delighted she has had this opportunity, even if I was slightly anxious, having read the book, about what role she had been cast in.”

Freya spent several weeks shooting the programme last summer. The first series regularly attracted more than six million viewers.