Child star Jamie Bell wanted his new film role to be as far apart from the ballet dancing boy he played in hit movie Billy Elliot as possible.

An adaptation of CHARLES DICKENS' classic book Nicholas Nickleby provided Jamie with the perfect vehicle, and sees him playing a down-trodden orphan called SMIKE who has a deformity that restricts his mobility.

Jamie, 17, says of his recent part, "I wanted to move away from Billy Elliot, a character who obviously has no problems with movement. Playing Smike was physically tough, my ankles and lower back were distressed by the end of the first week.

"I spent two years going round with Billy Elliot and I wasn't creating anything. If you have created an image of yourself at 13 and it is still with you at 17, it needs to be dropped. I want people to see me as an adult."

24/06/2003 21:09