A POLICEMAN has swapped his beat for the red carpet after appearing in a film at this month’s festival in Cannes.

Ross Brewster, who has been a police officer with Durham Police for 22 years, landed the role in Ken Loach’s latest film four years after signing up with an agency to try and become a TV extra.

The 47-year-old, from Slaley, in Northumberland, near the border with County Durham, played the role of Maloney in Sorry We Missed You, which centres on on a family dependant on wages from a zero hours contract, with Mr Brewster appearing as the boss of the lead character, delivery driver Ricky.

The film was nominated for a Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival, which finishes today, which Mr Brewster attended with his wife Sharon.

He said: “Cannes was an amazing experience. I don’t think there are many British actors who have walked down the red carpet at one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals – and I’m one of them.

The Northern Echo:

Ross and Sharon Brewster on the red carpet in Cannes

“Before this film I had done absolutely no work in film or TV, and all of a sudden I’m working with one of the best directors in the world. It is mad, really.

“I don’t consider myself to be an actor, just someone lucky enough to be given a role in a brilliant film. I feel blessed. Even if this is the only film I ever do, what a way to do it.”

The dad-of-three signed up to Newcastle-based casting agency NE14.TV in 2015 in the hope of becoming a TV extra.

But because of work commitments he did not get the chance until last year, when he spotted an email looking for a former or retired policeman.

After receiving his initial email from the agency, he had to attend several auditions before he received a phone call from office manager Kate Lewis asking him if he wanted one of the main roles.

Mr Brewster added: “One day my phone pinged to tell me I had a voicemail, which was from NE1 4.TV.

"I rang them back and they asked me if I wanted a part in the next Ken Loach film!

“All that time I thought I would just be in the background, then they tell me I was playing the lead character’s boss. I couldn’t believe it.

“All of a sudden I find myself working with one of the biggest names in the business – Ken Loach.

The Northern Echo:

Ross Brewster and lead actor Kris Hitchen

"I was sat next to him on set one day and I said to him that I wasn’t sure I should be there. I felt like a bit of a fraud.

“I had never acted before and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t want to let anyone down. He told me I was the right person for the role and wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t. That gave me confidence.”

NE1 4.TV owner Bessie Williams said: “We are so proud of Ross for landing such a big role in ‘Sorry We Missed You’ and have heard nothing but good reports about his acting.

“It just goes to show you never know what will happen – Ross had never done any acting before and then he finds himself working with one of the best directors in the business!

“We have people on our books of all ages and from all walks of life, and it is free to sign up. What have you got to lose?”