Reading scheme gets Celia Imrie's blessing

Ian Clarke Actress Celia Imrie had a group of young Norfolk children transfixed by her reading skills as she helped launch a new bedtime book campaign.The TV, big screen and stage star is becoming well known around the county as she appears as trusty receptionist Gloria Millington in the popular Norfolk-based ITV1 series Kingdom.

Ian Clarke

Actress Celia Imrie had a group of young Norfolk children transfixed by her reading skills as she helped launch a new bedtime book campaign.

The TV, big screen and stage star is becoming well known around the county as she appears as trusty receptionist Gloria Millington in the popular Norfolk-based ITV1 series Kingdom.

And she was just a stone's throw from Peter Kingdom's solicitor's office in the centre of Swaffham - known in the series as Market Shipborough - as she read extracts from three books which are very special to her.


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Youngsters from Swaffham Junior School were the appreciative audience at the town's Children's Society shop, where Celia gave her support to the national bedtime reading month.

The children were wide-eyed as she treated them to readings from Nurse Matilda (which the film Nanny McPhee was based on and in which she played Selma Quickly) and The Borrowers (in which she was Homily Clock).

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And Celia also recited from The Girl Who Helped, a book given to her at a party by actor Jim Broadbent.

“Reading is so important and reading out loud brings books alive. If you are well read and well travelled it means so much in life and gives you so much to talk about.”

Celia cited Stephen Fry (who plays Peter Kingdom) as the perfect example of a great reader.

“Stephen is the best read person I have ever come across and whatever subject comes up he can talk about it.”

Mungo Denison, of the Children's Society media team, said the charity was promoting the bedtime reading project to encourage children and parents “to have quality time together.”

“There is evidence to show real developmental benefits to children of imagination, speech and confidence from reading with parents.”

Swaffham Children's Society shop manager Caroline Welham said: “It is absolutely fantastic to have Celia here. Kingdom has done so much for Swaffham and really put it on the map.”

*Children's Laureate Michael Rosen yesterday joined 240 delegates - including headteachers, literacy leaders, advisers and educational psychologists - at a special Reading Matters conference at the John Innes Institute in Norwich to celebrate National Year of Reading.

The day aimed to explore the teaching of reading and help teachers and support staff to encourage young people to pick up a book and Mr Rosen's discussion was entitled “How not to bore the pants off kids.”

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