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Dakota and Lizzy
Fame for actress with Asperger syndrome
A Shrewsbury teenager appeared alongside Dakota Blue Richards in BBC One's 2008 adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson's Dustbin Baby. Lizzy Clark plays a girl with Asperger Syndrome - even more remarkable given that she also has the condition.
Fourteen-year-old Lizzy played the part of Poppy, a teenager with Asperger syndrome, in the BBC TV adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson's children's book Dustbin Baby. It was Lizzy's first professional acting role.
Lizzy also suffers from Asperger syndrome, offering her a unique take on her new character.
The syndrome is a relatively mild form of autism. Lizzy said that because it's subtle, people don't see her as autistic: "They see me as someone who's a bit strange and not very easy to get on with, although I do have lots of friends who love me and support me."
In Dustbin Baby, the local teenager appeared alongside household names like Juliet Stevenson, and star of The Golden Compass, Dakota Blue Richards. Jacqueline Wilson, president of the Shrewsbury Bookfest, is one of the UK's most popular children's authors and Lizzy is a big fan.
It was Lizzy's mother, Nicky, who saw an advert for the role on an autism website: "I think it's incredibly positive that the BBC chose to find an actress who has the same condition as the character."
Being on set was the best experience of Lizzy's life. She said: "At first it was a bit intimidating," being with such big stars as Juliet Stevenson and Dakota Blue Richards, but after a while, she said you, "stop noticing the cameras".
Nicky Clark says getting the role has been a huge boost to Lizzy's self-esteem. She said: "It was lovely for Lizzy; it was lovely for people with autism... to show that anything is achievable."
last updated: 19/11/2009 at 16:40