1883 Magazine

At only 23, Fady Elsayed has starred in a variety of projects starting off with his portrayal of Mo in My Brother the Devil back in 2012 which gained him great publicity, leading to two nominations (Best Newcomer at the London Film Festival 2012 and Young Performer of the Year at the 2013 Critic’s Circle Film Awards) then later cast as Wino in Brotherhood.

With two nominations already, he’s striding forward with his new project “Class” which is set to air on BBC Three in October. Class is a spin-off series of the cult classic, Doctor Who. It is set in Coal Hill Academy, which has regularly featured on Doctor Who since its original 1963 airing and will focus on six of its students and staff members. All characters have their own secrets to deal with, let alone the dark horrors which come from the Time Lord. 1883 were lucky enough to talk to Fady about his past and upcoming projects, then we are given some tips on our acting skills!

You only recently turned 23 and have 2 award nominations under your belt, can you tell us where it all started for you?

It all started off at the Young Actors Theatre, the Drama school near Islington, where I grew up and so I attended there for six months. I begun taking up extra work which eventually led to me getting picked up by the agency who got me the role of Mo in ‘My Brother the Devil”. After that it got quite a lot of acclaim and the film’s done really well.

They both came from the portrayal of Mo in “My Brother the Devil” back in 2012, it must have felt great to get two nominations! How did you react to the news?

I was shocked! Obviously I felt like the film had done really, but just for my first film it came as a bit of a surprise. I was certainly happy and really proud because to be acknowledged for your work is the best feeling!

You’ve been kept quite busy in recent times, with Brotherhood in the cinemas at the moment and the highly  anticipated “Class” airing in October, you must be feeling pretty buzzed!

Yeah, really excited about it! I’ve always worked my whole life up to portraying a role in a great TV series like class and obviously to be part of brotherhood too, but it’s been a really good year for me.

Can you talk us through your role in Class?

Yes! My character is a young and caring boy who attends Coal Hill Academy, which is the school that features in season 1 of Doctor Who. He is quite confident and cocky, but has a really good heart. He’s really driven, interested in his football and just wants to be the best at everything!

The mini series is a spin-off of doctor who, which you have also appeared in, are you much of a fan of the doctor who series?

I respect the show a lot and it was a big part of my childhood but I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of it. Since being a part of Class, I have gone back and watched them from season 1. It has made me realise and appreciate why so many people love Doctor Who and why the fans are so crazy about it.

You’ve taken up many a role in TV and film, which character would you say you related to the most? If any.

Definitely, I feel like I can relate to a lot of the characters I play, apart from a couple because I play a vampire in one! Even just some of the emotions, I feel like it helps me personally portray that in my acting, certain emotions some actors may not find easy to portray but I’ve been through some times and its really helped with my acting and it really relates to my characters, especially Mo for example. He was young and grew up in a rough area, but idolises his older brother.”

Is there any production that stood out to you as being the most enjoyable to film?

For me, it has been Class. I got along really well with the cast, the locations we filmed in and the experiences we had were great! It has just been a fun and exciting project to work on.”

Have you ever watched your Tv shows and films back after the premiere?

Yeah, I watched “My Brother the Devil” screening over and over at least 20 times. I definitely like to see them. I don’t watch them all the time, but if I’m happy with the performance then I will watch them— but to be honest, everything I have done, I have done for a reason and I’ve chosen because I’ve wanted to be a part of it. I felt like they have all paid off so I’m really proud of that!”

You’ve worked with many actors and directors, you must have been given some good advice during your time?

Well, I’ll never forget the first advice I ever got. It was from my director Sally El Hosaini, who directed “My Brother the Devil”. She was obviously my mentor from the beginning because I was thrown in the deep end and told how to act. She said “to act is to not act” and that less is more. So now I always try to keep that in mind. You know, you have to become the character more than you have to act as a character. So I’ll never forget that advice from her.

So, to say I was to start acting with little experience, would you give the same advice to me? Or do you have any other tips from experience?

As an actor, the first thing you try to do is act and you can see it all the time. The director tells you to act and tells you what to do. It took me a while, but to do less is to do more win most cases because if you do too much, then it just shows that you’re acting. It’s a weird concept! Especially when you’re trying to explain it, but you just have to keep it natural!”

What is to come from you in the near future?

I have a few things lined up but unfortunately I can’t say too much. But it’s really exciting with ‘Class’ coming up for everyone involved, it is something we can all look forward to!


Catch Fady in Class on BBC 3 here or via the BBC iplayer.

Words by Ed Avary

Photography Anne Laymond

Grooming Chantelle Phillips

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