A BRADFORD ON AVON schoolgirl is starring in a new BBC children's drama about the famously radical school, Summerhill.

The eponymous TV series stars 12-year-old Holly Bodimeade, of Newtown in Bradford on Avon, and is on BBC1 on Wednesday January 23 at 4.30pm.

Stonar School pupil Holly gave up five weeks of her summer holidays to film the series, sometimes working 10-hour days, but said she enjoyed every minute of it.

"It was really good fun and I got on really well with the other actors and made really good friends with them, it was like a family really," she said.

"I had my birthday while we were filming and I had to work all day but when I got back to my trailer they had filled it with balloons and all jumped out to wish me Happy Birthday.

"It was strange waking up after it had finished and not having to go to make-up and costume and not having someone to hold my umbrella for me!"

Summerhill is a true story about the Suffolk boarding school where pupils are not forced to go to lessons and make up their own rules.

Holly plays 11-year-old Maddie who is sent to the school after collapsing from exam stress and discovers a place where climbing trees and building boats are part of the curriculum.

She said: "We filmed at the school and 30 of the pupils there were extras.

"They showed us round the school and told us what it was like to go there."

Holly's mum, Georgina, said: "She worked so hard doing nine or 10-hour days and getting up at 6am, but I knew she was enjoying it because she never said she didn't want to get out of bed."

Holly started acting at school, where she has appeared in many school plays, and has also been in productions at the Theatre Royal and Mission Theatre in Bath.

But her real break came when she won the lead role in a BBC Radio 4 play called Sand in 2006, about the Suez Canal crisis.

After her summer spent filming Summerhill Holly says she would like to continue doing film and television work but for now, it's back to her homework.

Summerhill is on the CBBC channel on January 21 at 6pm, on BBC 1 on January 23 at 4.30pm and a film version of the series is also due to be shown on BBC 4.