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Thursday, 19 June 2008

Into a New Dimension

CYBERMEN have taken over the classrooms of a North East school.

The robots, who are among the most persistent enemies of timelord Dr Who, have found a new target – the pupils at Ashington High School.

The cyborgs have been wreaking havoc at the Northumberland school, but at least the students have their own Tardis they can escape to.

The Cybermen and Tardis are the latest props to help new members of the school’s film club put together a short movie.

The school has stuck with a Dr Who theme after the success of last year’s short film, which featured life-size Daleks “exterminating” the teachers.

But the new film, called Conversion, is based on the idea that Cybermen are stealing the creativity from the brains of naughty pupils who then become mindless zombies.

The film club, which is aimed at 14 to 18-year-olds, was set up two-and-a-half years ago after the school applied for Lottery funding.

The first film the club made was an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which was shot in Scotland, and the proceeds went to charity.

Conversion is the club’s third film and a premiere is being arranged for September at a church in Ashington.

IT teacher Paul Wright, who oversees the club, said: “A lot of the students involved in last year’s project were 17 and 18 and all but one of them went off to university, so this time last year we were a little worried the club would fold.

“As it happened, when we had our premiere last year, a lot of the younger students, who are in their first year, showed an interest and we now have about 25 new members.

“The storyline they have come up with is fantastic. It follows on a little from last year’s plot, but it’s really creative and has some great gags in it, too.”

The pupils have been putting the film together in after-school hours and have received help from staff from a model shop in Ashington, who helped them to design and make Cybermen costumes.

They’ve also received help from retired members of the community who’ve given up their time to help with the filming.

Mr Wright said: “The school recently held a Challenge Week, where we challenged the students to make a contribution to the school or wider community. The film club has provided some of the students a great opportunity to work with different members of the community in Ashington and they’ve really learned a lot.

“The model shop has been a great help and the retired residents who came in commented on how nice it was to work with the pupils because they are so enthusiastic about what they are doing.”

He added: “The club is already planning it’s film for next year, even before this one is finished because the young people are so excited.”