Happy Valley's James Norton announces surprising new TV role

james norton, happy valley season 3
Happy Valley's James Norton lands new TV roleBBC

Happy Valley star James Norton is returning to screens this week in a new TV role.

The actor has recorded a special episode of CBeebies Bedtime Stories, which airs this Friday (June 14) at 6.50pm on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer.

In the episode, James reads a book that helps young children understand diabetes and how it can be managed.

It's a condition the actor has personal experience with, having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 22.

james norton, happy valley season 3

The Rogue Agent star reads How to Manage a Mammoth written by Dr Rose Stewart and illustrated by Richard Dwyer. The story follows 8-year-old Jake, who reimagines his diabetes as a mammoth called Mel. Jake and his mum join forces with their friends to work out how to shrink Mel the diabetes mammoth to a more manageable size.

"My diabetes animal is a big shaggy dog called Bruce," said James. "When I first got Bruce, he was a puppy. He was difficult to control because he was always overexcited. Now, he's a bit older and calmer.

"He still gets scared when someone's at the door or he’s hungry. And then he barks very loudly. Or when he gets excited, he still runs around and knocks things over. But generally he strolls along by my side.

He concluded: "Bruce is my pal. I'm pleased to say that today Bruce is under control and very calm, which makes me feel very happy and relaxed."

james norton, cbeebies bedtime story
Pete Dadds - BBC

How to Manage a Mammoth was created through a collaboration with NHS Wales and Cambridge University Press, with the intention to help families explore how they feel about living with diabetes.

The book encourages old and young to envision diabetes as an animal, something which won’t go away but which they can learn to accept and manage.

In addition to James' storytime, the actor has also contributed to an article on BBC Bitesize Parents’ Toolkit, sharing advice on dealing with a diagnosis. How to Manage a Mammoth author Dr Rose Stewart and experts at Diabetes UK have shared tips on handling the condition in the online resource too.

James Norton’s episode of CBeebies Bedtime Stories will air on CBeebies at 6.50pm on Friday, June 14.

For information and support about Diabetes, please visit the NHS support hub for Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes or consult with Diabetes UK for additional resources.

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