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The main reason I came to Scotland was to find my Mr. Right ...and if I do we'll definitely have kids; EXCLUSIVE: BALAMORY'S JOSIE REVEALS THERE'S MORE TO HER THAN A TV CAREER.

Byline: KRISSY STORRAR

BALAMORY'S Josie Jump is desperate to get her hands on a Scottish man.

Actress Kasia Haddad has taken over the Josie Jump role in the massively successful kids TV show.

But Kasia has revealed that it was the lure of landing a hunky Scottish boyfriend that convinced her to take the part.

Londoner Kasia has been filming in Scotland for the last nine months and told the Mirror she loves it up here.

She said: "I love the Scottish accent - and I am looking for Mr Right to come along."

But one Scotsman she does not want to meet is the Mull moaner Richard Stojak, who used to run the hotel which doubles as Josie's house in the series.

He famously told kids that he had killed Josie Jump and buried her under the patio.

Kasia said: "I love kids and would love some of my own. That's why I couldn't believe it when I heard what the hotelier had said about Josie being buried under the patio.

"I was amazed because I didn't know kids travelled so far to go and see where Balamory is filmed.

"As soon as the kids hit the island there was a real buzz.

"So that was a really hard thing to say to a child. I wish he hadn't said it.

"When I think back to when I was a kid I used to love the Wizard of Oz, and if anybody had told me Dorothy had been killed I would have gone mad."

Actress Buki Akib played fitness fanatic Josie in the first two series before leaving to concentrate on studying for an arts degree.

Inevitably, Kasia had to endure some backlash as toddlers realised their beloved Josie had mysteriously been replaced.

But Kasia, 27, has succeeded in winning round her young audience after taking over the role for the third and fourth series.

She is now waiting to hear whether the BBC is to make a fifth series of the hit show, which is filmed in Tobermory on Mull.

And she is regularly stopped in the street by young fans who are delighted to see their TV favourite.

Yesterday Kasia, from London's tough Harlesden district, said: "I was worried at first because I was taking over another actress's role, and when you are on a new contract you think 'how are people going to take to me?'

"It was a worry because I felt the other actress did such a brilliant job and the kids who watch the show had really taken to her.

"I thought she was so great, and I was thinking I really want to continue this girl's legacy.

"I was thinking 'how are the children going to take to me?' and 'will I be as bubbly?'

"I just took each day as it came and did the best I could.

"I have never met the original actress, and I was given the chance to do my own version of Josie.

"I was not told it had to be as close to the original actress as possible."

Kasia is also hoping BBC bosses don't axe the series - as she is keen to return to Mull for more filming.

She said: "We have just finished filming and I think it went really, really well.

"I have done the third and fourth series over the last nine months and it has been great.

"I am not sure whether there will be a fifth series. I hope so.

"I think everybody knows about Balamory now, even where I live. I'm from north west London and I've been getting loads of children and their parents coming up to me in the street and saying they love it.

"Because it was filmed up in Scotland, I had thought it was just big up there but that's not the case."

Kasia was picked to star as pig-tailed Josie after her agent insisted she audition for the part when Buki left the show.

She bears a striking resemblance to the original actress and was perfect to play the yellow tracksuit-wearing fitness instructor, as she has always been an exercise junkie.

The striking beauty always knew she was destined to be a performer, and honed her love of singing, dancing and acting at the Brit School for Performing Arts in London.

She worked for several theatre companies, performing mainly for children, including those with special needs.

The experience proved perfect training for a part in Balamory, the biggest break so far in her career.

The kids' TV show also provided her with her biggest culture shock, as she adjusted to filming in the wilds of Scotland. Kasia stayed in a flat in the west end of Glasgow for the nine months she was starring as Josie.

But Balamory is filmed in isolated Tobermory, where the brightly- coloured houses are now a tourist attraction in their own right.

Thousands of parents now succumb to the pressures of toddler tourism and take their kids to Mull to see the real-life Balamory.

Kasia is now preparing for a part in the pantomime Aladdin while she waits to hear whether there will be a fifth series of Balamory. She missed out on playing Josie in the Christmas stage show, Balamory What's the Story?, as Buki Akib is set to return to the role.

But she is confident that Balamory will not be the last TV viewers see of her.

She added: "I feel it has been a great stepping stone for me.

"I have done some serious adult acting as well.

"I am a dynamic person and I love doing all sorts.

"I hope I will be back on screen soon."

CAPTION(S):

MISSION: Actress Kasia is on the lookout for a Scottish man; WHAT A CREW: The colourful Balamory cast have proved a smash hit with toddlers; SHOCK: Richard Stojak told kids he had buried Josie
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 20, 2004
Words:980
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