Daughter’s messy bedroom inspires storybook by Crouch End film actress

An actress and songwriter from Crouch End has released an audio storybook inspired by her daughter’s messy bedroom and the imaginations of Highgate schoolchildren.

Francesca Longrigg, 50, who lives near Mountview Road, is best known for her small but distinctive roles in television and films - such as Mrs Dormandy, Kenneth Branagh’s nervous wife, in The Boat That Rocked in 2009.

The actress, who is also a musician and songwriter, has spent the past three years writing and recording The Land Of Sometimes, an audio story book for children, with songs and music for the whole family.

The album features the voices of ten children from and King Alfred School, who Francesca met through other parents and school choir groups.

But she says it was her own daughter, Lara, aged nine, a pupil at King Alfred School, who inspired her to write the story.

“There’s a fairy character in the story called ‘Little Twink’ who messes up the children’s rooms when they’re asleep,” said the actress.

“She came about because my daughter said one morning ‘Mummy I didn’t make my room untidy, it was the fairy’.

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“Whenever she said something random like that, I’d jot it down and then I spent a year in a caf� in Highgate writing the book.”

Francesca met collaborator and noted music producer Chicky Reeves, when she was a singer in New York many years ago.

“I went to him with the book and we decided to start the project for fun and it just grew and grew,” she said.

“It became huge in terms of the amount of time, people involved and the detail that went into the music.”

The album, which is released through the One Fifteen record label in Crouch End, also features legendary pianist Jools Holland, singer Ruby Turner, and many actors and musicians from north London.

Francesca and her musicians will be touring local schools in February and March to talk to children about live instruments and song writing.

The Land Of Sometimes was released on February 6 and is available in local shops, including Susan Wainwright in South End Green, Hampstead.