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From Albert Square to Children’s Literature

East Grinstead based actress and ex-EastEnders star, Sophie Langham has produced her first book, making the move from Albert Square into the world of children’s literature.

Aimed at children aged 5 – 9, it is a story inspired by Church Ope Cove in Dorset when visiting her brother, who lived there, she became inspired by folklore surrounding the area.

She began to pass on the tales to her own three boys as a way of making the walk down to the beach more exciting, passing under a stone archway; the boys would remain silent for fear of a troll.

Folklore says that a troll would appear and put donkey’s ears on them and local legend has it that a tombstone decorated with skull and crossbones in the graveyard was that of a much-feared pirate.

The imposing skull and crossbones on gravestones does not necessarily mean that pirates are buried there, instead it is a symbol of man’s mortality. Pirates borrowed the symbol as a way
of scaring victims.

Sophie’s brother Neil encouraged her to put her ideas down in a book but with a busy life teaching singing, acting and bringing up a young family near to East Grinstead, she never quite managed to find the time.

When Neil became ill, he reminded Sophie about the story and after he sadly passed away, she realised that life is too short to keep ideas on the back burner for too long and felt inspired to move the project forward.

“Nancy’s visit to her Grandpa’s seaside home is more interesting than she originally expected. He shows her that the magic of fantasy can be hidden everywhere. That her imagination is
truly the most wonderful place to visit. Pirate Ghosts, Mermaids, Dragons and Fish Fairies can be anywhere you want them to be………”

Sophie had been working with Sosound Productions on some voice over work and they initially suggested making an audio recording of it, which was followed up by publishing it as a book.

The book uses the eye-catching technique of illustrations laid over actual photos of the area, which is slightly reminiscent of the popular Charlie and Lola stories, making the book appealing for children and adults alike.

The photos were taken by Sophie’s photographer husband Joe Pepler and the engaging illustrations were done by Nicola Wastie.

Sophie has kept busy over the years with acting roles and voiceover work, locally and beyond, appearing at the Chequer Mead in productions and more recently with the Froshow and Barebones Theatre Company.

She appeared in The Bill, Holby City and in the 1990’s, she played Binny Roberts, one-half of the first mixed-race lesbian couple in EastEnders.

She has also provided the voice for a number of Fisher Price Toys!

The Tale of the Pirate Grave has been a long-held goal for Sophie and she has dedicated the book to her brother Neil for his encouragement.

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