Students and staff from Aldenham School were given a taste of celebrity when actress Sophie Thompson popped into their weekly FILMCLUB meeting.

The actress, who has appeared in Harry Potter, Eat Pray Love and EastEnders, appeared at the event on Thursday.

Organised through education charity FILMCLUB as part of their “Close Encounters” programme, the aim of the meeting was to give young people a chance to meet members of the film industry to highlight cinema’s capacity to educate and inspire.

Ms Thompson talked to about 70 pupils, aged from 12 to 18, about her career, favourite films and why she believes it’s so important for young people to watch a variety of movies.

There was an opportunity for lots of questions from “What inspired you to become an actress and how did you get started?” to “How do you learn your lines?” and “Do you find the press aggravating?”

On being asked what advice she would give to an aspiring actor, Ms Thompson said: “Just do it – if it’s what you want to do, you will know it, you just connect. Go and see things, take part in things, join in as much as you can. Do courses if you want to and be with other like minded people as much as possible”.

Year 8 student Shelina Devendrarajah said: “It was a real treat and an incredible experience to meet Sophie Thompson and something that I'll certainly, never ever forget.”

FILMCLUB is an education charity, supported by the Department for Education.

Aldenham runs clubs in the senior, lower and prep school, and the membership is sponsored by the Old Aldenhamian Society.

Students who join FILMCLUB have the opportunity to watch, discuss and review the very best of world cinema, everything from silent films to documentaries, foreign films and films from across every decade.

Aldenham has a history of supporting the film industry and many Old Aldenhamians have worked in associated fields.