While the internet raged at the cancellation of Netflix supernatural series Lockwood & Co., its star Ruby Stokes is more disappointed for the fans than for herself. “I loved the character, and it was sad to see it wasn’t going to go again. But everything happens for a reason, and there’s something exciting around the corner.”

For Stokes, 22, it is starring in Para­mount+’s six-part adaptation of CJ Tudor novel The Burning Girls, which she filmed last year, a month after wrapping Lockwood & Co. The London-born actress credits her love of performing to her parents exposing her to musical theatre at an early age. She joined a drama club “to gain some confidence, and ended up loving it”, scoring small roles in TV shows Just William, Not Going Out and, later, Da Vinci’s Demons, then attending the Brit School, London Youth Circus and National Youth Theatre, playing the young Rooney Mara in 2016 gritty indie drama Una before concentrating on her GCSEs.

At 17, Stokes starred in Nosebleed, a short from Luna Carmoon, and decided acting was more than something she loved, it could be a career. She appeared in the first two series of Netflix smash Bridgerton, Sarah Gavron’s Rocks and psychological horror A Banquet, plus voice work in Ari Folman animation Where Is Anne Frank. She auditioned for drama school but decided to take a year out “to see what opportunities came my way”, landing her first lead in Lockwood & Co., a physical role that allowed Stokes to draw on her circus training.

In addition to The Burning Girls, Stokes shot a day on 2022 Star of Tomorrow George Jaques’ Black Dog, which was part of the Great8 Showcase at Cannes in May, and has ambitions to write and direct. “I would love to direct theatre. I’m excited to tell stories. I’ve written some things for myself — a couple of shorts.”

During lockdown, she penned a short piece called Paths; Unparalleled in conjunction with a young writers’ workshop and the Royal Court that was performed on the latter’s website as part of its ‘Living Newspaper’ editions. A monologue in poetry form, it detailed the experiences of being a young working-class woman in London, dating and forging a career path. “It was my first experience of putting stuff down,” says Stokes. “It comments on how there are no foundations pre-laid for us — you build them yourself.”

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