A dancer from Cork has spoken of her delight after landing a role in the new John Lewis Christmas ad - her first TV job.
Molly Ward, 23, who is originally from Mallow in Co Cork but now based in London, said she has been overwhelmed by messages of support since The Boy and the Piano ad featuring Elton John was unveiled today after weeks of speculation.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner during a break in rehearsals for the Everyman Theatre’s pantomime, Cinderella, Molly said: “We had to sign confidentiality agreements and waivers because they didn’t want any details of the ad leaking in advance.
The British department store chain’s festive TV ads have become part of the Christmas tradition over the last decade with a list of emotional ads pulling at heartstrings around the world.
But the chain’s marketing gurus turned to good old-fashioned star-power and have featured Elton John in this year’s offering.
The ad shows the Rocket Man sitting alone at his piano playing Your Song on his grandmother's piano while moments of his life are played out, flash-back style, for the audience.
As the years roll back, he is seen performing in a stadium, on a private jet, recording the song in a studio, and as a teenager, playing piano on stage at school, with his mother looking on from the audience.
Molly, who attended St Mary’s Secondary School in Mallow, and who studied ballet under Sinéad Murphy at the Cork School of Dance before studying musical theatre for three years in Bird College in England, features in a segment showing a young Elton John playing the piano at a Christmas gathering, with family and friends gathered around the piano.
Molly is seen standing at the edge of the piano, dancing with an older man as the young Elton belts out a tune.
She told RedFM News earlier there was incredible secrecy surrounding the entire process audition and production process.
“All we knew was that it was called Project X. I went to the audition and was asked to do some improv 60s-style dancing,” she said.
She thanked her parents, Eddie and particularly her mum, Sylvia, for driving her to dance school several times a week when she was a teenager.
Meanwhile, while the ad runs on TV over Christmas, Molly will be on stage as part of the ensemble for the Everyman and Cada’s presentations of Cinderella, which opens on December 1 and runs until January 13.
Here is this year's John Lewis Christmas ad in full: