A GRAYS youngster has landed a leading role in a major London West End musical.

Mark Jones, from Grays, joined the cast of The Bodyguard this month, marking his professional debut opposite well known singer and actress Beverley Knight.

Mark, 11, plays Fletcher in the musical and is one of four boys who will play the role in the show until March 2014.

Indeed, Mark’s acting skills were so impressive he had to turn down the chance to join the Thriller Live cast.

The musical is a remake of the famous Warner Brothers film starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston.

Mark prepared for the role by being selected for Fletch School, where he attended regular weekly sessions in the West End.

Mark said: “I am having a great time. I’m loving performing to so many people and working with such a great cast. Beverley Knight is amazing in the show!”

The pop star has also revealed her admiration for Mark, tweeting “You guys SHOULD be proud! What a great talent Mark is! We are all proud! Xxxx”

The show performs daily to a packed audience at the Adelphi Theatre in London.

Mark has been part of Thurrock based Creative Blast Performing Arts Academy since he was a five-year-old and is also a part of the Creative Blast Agency.

The agency recently announced it would be offering a free trial to new people interested in joining and is currently recruiting.

Creative Blast director Daryl Branch said “We are all immensely proud of what Mark has achieved so far!

“He had a great opening night performance and we look forward to visiting the show again throughout his run with the cast.”