LIBBY Rodliffe is no stranger to stage and screen.

The former Colchester schoolgirl boasts an impressive CV including credits in films like Spencer, based around the story of Princess Diana’s divorce from the then Prince Charles, and The Ockendon Witch, a short film recorded using Zoom during the coronavirus pandemic telling the story of an Essex woman accused of witchcraft in the 1500s.

But appearing on the BBC’s hit period drama Call the Midwife was an experience unlike no other for the talented actor who first trod the boards in her native Colchester.

She says her role in the show’s latest festive special, which was filmed during last year’s scorching summer – months before it aired on Christmas Day, is the highlight of her acting career to date.

Gazette: Actor - Libby, who grew up in ColchesterActor - Libby, who grew up in Colchester (Image: Libby Rodliffe)

“I’ve had lovely jobs, but they’ve been smaller roles,” the 31-year-old told the Gazette.

“Experiences like [being in Spencer] are great but you can’t really get your teeth into anything and Call the Midwife was the first thing where I had an actual storyline.

“Everyone was just so supportive. The established actors are particularly attentive to everybody who’s on set, no matter what part they’re playing. It was a really lovely role.”

'Mixing with others is important'

Libby studied at Colchester Sixth Form College before completing a degree in drama at Bath Spa University.

She says the experience gained in office jobs, working in a shoe shop, and even a stint as a receptionist at the Colchester Gazette have helped her to become a well-rounded actor.

Gazette: On set - Libby Rodliffe's CV is impressiveOn set - Libby Rodliffe's CV is impressive (Image: Libby Rodliffe)

“It’s really important, not just for your career but I think generally in life, to have people around you that are very different to you,” she explained. “Different backgrounds, different sexualities, whatever it is, and being exposed to different workplaces.”

But acting has always been her passion ever since she enthusiastically spent her Saturdays as a youngster at Stagecoach, a performing arts school in Colchester, and later taking up parts in Colchester County High School for Girls’ annual productions time and time again.

Colchester Operatic Society’s youth group, CO2, which allowed her to get on stage at the Mercury Theatre as a teenager, has a special place in the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama graduate’s heart, too.

She said: “CO2 was massive in piquing my interest [in acting] really. I loved their musicals because I sing as well.”

Gazette: Loved - the Mercury TheatreLoved - the Mercury Theatre (Image: Newsquest)

Her hometown, and particularly its lively arts scene, is somewhere Libby, who now lives in London, treasures and tries to visit as often as she can.

“We’re lucky to have the Mercury,” she added. “It feels like a real hub.”

So, what’s next for the talented actor?

She has plenty in the pipeline but the project she’s most excited about could see her stepping behind the camera.

Alongside the award-winning playwright Isley Lynn, who was named the Evening Standard’s most promising playwright last year, the pair have co-written a play called Jobsworth which has enjoyed a sold-out run and is now being developed for TV.

Drawing upon her own experiences of doing temp work around her studies, it follows the journey of a woman juggling lots of jobs and the atrocities which follow.

It’s clear to see how Libby’s lifelong passion for acting has developed into a successful career, but one thing that’s for sure is that Colchester remains dear to her heart.