A chance meeting after being made redundant has meant a film career for former teacher Vicki Matthews.
Vicki, from Lawshall, was made redundant after 17 years when Hardwick Middle School closed last year and had no plans beyond travelling and looking for ‘something exciting’ to do, which was what she told a stranger at Goodwood Festival of Speed.
He asked for her email ‘in case anything turns up’ and a month later he emailed asking if she’d like to be in a film.
She cautiously checked it out but went to a rugby club in Walton-on-Thames where she played a dinner guest in a film about a Jersey serial killer, due out this year, with Geraldine James and Jessie Buckley.
“That was my first part in a film, it was great!” she said. “Then somebody asked me to do a film at Upton Park.
“I didn’t have a clue who was in it, but it turned out to be Pierce Brosnan.”
The film, The Final Score, was written by David Lynch and directed by Scott Mann and is about an armed gang seizing a football ground to demand a ransom.
“I had a couple of parts,” Vicki said. “I did my first stunt – I had to pretend to be drunk and walk out in front of a motorbike that was being chased, to make him swerve and hit a wall.”
Since then she has also played a paramedic and a club goer in episodes of the American TV crime series Obsession, which was, oddly, filmed in Norwich.
She now has a part in a yet to be named film about the prisoners involved in the 1990 Strangeways Prison riot in which she plays the lawyer of one of the ringleaders, Alan Lord, who went on to write Life in Strangeways.
Vicki said: “I have to persuade him to come off a hunger strike. There are some very big stars in it but I can’t say who they are.”
She hopes other people faced with redundancy will be inspired by the opportunities it gave her.
“I always taught the children that is you put your mind to it you can do anything,” she said. “People say ‘why are you so happy when you’ve been made redundant, got a divorce’ but if I hadn’t been made redundant I wouldn’t have met Pierce Brosnan.
“There’s life after redundancy, you just have to look for it and if I can do it at 51, anyone can.”
Would she return to teaching? “No I don’t think I would. I’ve seen life on the other side now and it’s exciting.”