A YORK teenager says she is “pinching herself” in disbelief after becoming part of an Emmy award-winning TV drama.

Carla Woodcock, from Wheldrake, landed a role in Netflix series Free Rein, aged just 17.

The show was lauded at this year’s Emmy awards, after winning Outstanding Children’s or Family Viewing Series and Best Directing in a Children’s Programme.

“I keep having to pinch myself,” said Carla. “It’s all so surreal and I’m so unbelievably grateful and proud to be in the position I’m in, to be part of an Emmy award-winning show.”

Free Rein follows the story of American teenager Zoe Phillips as she spends the summer at her mother’s childhood home in England and bonds with a mysterious horse. Carla plays Susie, one of the horse-mad British girls who befriends Zoe.

Carla’s career began at 11, when she started drama classes at Stagecoach York. At 13, she began having acting lessons with Frances Simon, York-based LAMDA (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) teacher and talent agent.

Frances said: “Carla really stood out back then as having star quality, and progressed quickly through the LAMDA grades, obtaining distinctions each time.”

Whilst working on Grade 7 LAMDA, Carla was invited to join Frances’ agency, Nurture Talent, to be put up for professional work.

“When the casting brief came through for Free Rein, I knew it would be perfect for Carla as she had horse riding experience and was extremely talented,” said Frances.

After two successful series, series three is on the way. Carla, who first landed the role in 2016, said:

“Free Rein was my first big job and it’s helped me to mature as a person. While I have a lot of amazingly supportive people around, I can’t rely on parents and teachers to keep me focused anymore – I have to do that for myself. I love this new independence, it’s allowed me to have more confidence in myself and what I do.”

Frances added: “Carla’s success is great news for northern performers. The jobs are there – and, with the right combination of talent and hard work, they are accessible."

Free Rein seasons one and two are available on Netflix.