Grange Hill star graduates

Borehamwood Times: Growing up: Matthew Buckley, second from the left, with co-stars Growing up: Matthew Buckley, second from the left, with co-stars

A teenage actor from Elstree is leaving the children's soap Grange Hill after seven years in the show.

Matthew Buckley, 19, who grew up in Nash Close, Elstree, joined the television series when he was 12 as character Martin Miller.

The series, which was filmed BBC Elstree, in Clarendon Road, Borehamwood, until it moved to Liverpool in 2002, was Matthew's first acting role.

He said: "I had a drama teacher in Elstree and she sent me for an audition. It was the first audition I had done and I was lucky enough to get it."

Matthew, whose character suffers from Aspergers Syndrome, said: "Naturally, Martin is very different from me because of his condition. I've never met anyone like him so at times it's hard to relate to him."

Matthew was faced with another challenge when filming of the series moved from Elstree to Liverpool two years after he started. At the age of 14 he found himself having to spend long periods of time away from home.

"I recognised the opportunity that I had and didn't want to turn it down so when the filming moved to Liverpool it was not a hard decision to carry on. It was definitely a big change. But it was also fun and exciting because I was just a kid and going away and staying in a hotel was great."

Now that his character is ready to leave school Matthew, who has recently moved to Watford, is preparing himself to find other acting opportunities and set himself new goals.

"I have really enjoyed it," he said. "After working with the people there for so long you become so close to everyone. It is not like a regular job, you have so much fun every day. It was a privilege to be able to work on the programme."

The 30th series of Grange Hill, which will be Matthew's last, is currently being shown on the digital CBBC channel.

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