The Crown newcomer Tom Byrne showed his potential in early am-dram days in Haverhill
An actor chosen to play Prince Andrew in the Netflix series The Crown clearly had 'something special' at an early age, according to the man who directed him in amateur productions when he was a child.
Tom Byrne is now filming series four of the multi-award-winning drama that, as recently revealed by Netflix, has been so far been watched in 73 million homes worldwide.
The 25-year-old graduate of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, uses his grandmother's surname for acting. His actual name is Bailey.
His parents Colin and Teresa still live in Kedington, where Tom attended primary school.
He then attended Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill, Hills Road Sixth Form in Cambridge and did a one-year course at the Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts.
He spent a number of years learning the acting ropes in Haverhill's Centre Stage Company, first being cast in the Wizard of Oz in 2003 as the mayor of Munchkin City.
He went on to impress in roles that included the Artful Dodger in Oliver (aged 11) and two years later Fat Sam in Bugsy Malone (alongside his younger brother Will).
David Hart, who directed him in a number of shows said: "He was also a very good footballer.
"They (Tom's parents) had a bit of a discussion about whether he was going to go to football or stick to the stage stuff.
"I said he's got to go with this because I think about three times in my time, I've been directing shows for about 25 to 30 years, someone has walked into an audition and you know immediately they've got something that other people don't have.
"You think this is going to be good and Tom was one of those."
Tom has worked on stage alongside some big names, including Ade Edmondson in Twelfth Night, Timothy West and Stephanie Cole in King Lear for the Bristol Old Vic's 250th anniversary year (where he played Edgar) and in an RSC production of A Christmas Carol.
Of his new role, his mum said: "This is kind of a big breakthrough for him. He's really enjoying being on set. It's a very exciting time for him.
"We were beyond happy for him. We have been thrilled at every role he has ever had. So we were very excited and delighted for him."
More by this authorSteve Barton