You would have to be living under a rock to not know that the latest series of The Crown has just dropped on Netflix.
However, the BFBS Live Events team had twice the reason to be excited when they discovered that former BFBS/CSE Dancer Leanne Everitt features in episode five of the new season, playing Christine, the wife of notorious Buckingham Palace intruder Michael Fagan.
Leanne was cast last August following a tough audition process where she had just a few hours to learn the script and get herself to the casting from her home in Essex. She said:
"The scripts are kept really secret so you can’t print anything off and write notes.
"I was learning it from my phone on the way up to London having only heard that morning that they wanted me to read for it.
"You get three or four takes to do your bit and then you just have to wait.
"Often you don’t ever get told if you haven’t been successful after an audition, so I had to put it out of my mind. When I heard a few weeks later I’d been pencilled I still wasn’t sure if it was definitely going to happen"
Leanne had to wait another few days until the news came through confirming she had been selected. She said:
"When my agent rang to say I’d been booked for it I literally cried.
"It had been weeks of not knowing for sure so when I got it I was just so excited."
Filming for her episode in The Crown took place in October 2019. The former professional dancer spent two hours in hair and makeup being transformed into the character of Christine Fagan. She enjoyed spending time in the costume and makeup department having her character’s look fine-tuned.
Leanne worked for CSE for well over ten years. Her first job, aged only 19, was on a tour going to the Falklands. Angie Avlianos, Manager of BFBS Live Events said:
"I have such fond memories of working with Leanne. She came to CSE fresh out of dance college and got chucked in at the deep end going off to the Falklands on tour.
"She was brilliant, wide-eyed and excited but you could see she was going to do well, she was hardworking and a real team player.
"Leanne travelled the world with us including visits to the FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) in Afghanistan where her resilience was tested with very basic conditions – certainly not at all glamourous – but she coped admirably."
In 2013, Leanne was awarded an Afghanistan Service Medal for her many trips to the country with CSE.
When asked how working on The Crown compared to dancing on stage in a FOB Leanne said:
"It’s a very different kind of nerves – if you trip over on stage in a FOB there’s nothing you can do and to be honest the crowd sort of loved it when things did occasionally go wrong.
"But on set you know if you mess up a scene it’s going to delay filming and could potentially inconvenience a lot of people on the daily schedule so you’re really under pressure to get it right."
Leanne retired from dancing in 2015 to focus on her acting career and start a family with her guitarist husband Samuel.
She spent two years training to be an actor at The Poor School in London - a prestigious acting college which closed in 2018.
She has enjoyed small parts in Call The Midwife and Eastenders as well as stage roles in touring productions.
Leanne also teaches at a theatre school and has somehow fitted in getting married and having two children since she hung up her dancing shoes. Reflecting on her time performing to the forces, Leanne said:
"I have such brilliant memories of dancing for CSE/BFBS shows, meeting the military audience and visiting some crazy places, it was such an honour.
"I think having those years working as a dancer has really helped me to become a better actor and cope with the challenges."
Leanne is not the only BFBS star to make the final cut of the latest series of The Crown.
Guinness World Record-breaking Magician and star of Britain’s Got Talent, Jay Rawlings, also appears in episode four. Jay said:
"It’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment but it was truly a great honour to be involved in such a brilliant series."