To many youngsters it sounds like a dream - 12-year-old Northgate pupil Zac Wattley is juggling life as a TV star with a place in Ipswich Town's under-13 team.

Zac is one of the stars of the new CBBC drama series Jamie Johnson FC which is currently screening every week and on the iPlayer.

He lives in Ipswich with his parents Catherine and David and sisters Zara and Isla - but for the last two summers hasn't been able to go on a family summer holiday.

He said: "We film from June to September in Leeds - it's really good fun but there's quite a lot to do."

Ipswich Star: Zac Wattley shows off one of the Hawx Academy props he uses in the show.Zac Wattley shows off one of the Hawx Academy props he uses in the show. (Image: Paul Geater)

The film company engages tutors to make sure the children are able to keep up with their schoolwork - and filming does have another effect.

The schedule means Zac misses the start of pre-season training.

He said: "But there are coaches working with us to make the programme - and there are several others with clubs so they do special training in the evenings to get us ready for the season."

Ipswich Star: Zac Wattley is in Jamie Johnson FCZac Wattley is in Jamie Johnson FC (Image: Paul Geater)

Zac has been on the books of a child modelling agency for several years, and it was that got him into the show - he had never acted before, not even in school plays.

Catherine said: "His sisters both do drama classes, but he didn't - but his agency told us about the auditions because it involved football and when he did them they said he was a natural."

Zac added: "There were lots of auditions to go through, on zoom, in person and in London - it was great to get through."

His friends in Ipswich think his new-found fame is great and enjoy watching the film, and Zac added: "I've also made some great new friends while making the series."

So far he has made two series and is hoping to be involved in a third next year.

He continues with his football training and had been playing for Ipswich Town under-13s against Millwall shortly before we met.

At the moment that's where his ambitions really lie but he's keeping his options open: "I'd love to be a footballer, but I really enjoy making the programme and we'll have to see what happens."