AN Inverclyde actor is taking on an iconic role in a Christmas film with a difference and also working on a secret project for Netflix.

Michael Cooke, 32, is starring as Santa in an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus.

He stars alongside Still Game favourite and Beacon panto star Jane McCarry, and will appear in the film, which will be screened at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre in December.

Michael and his fellow cast members had to rehearse online but there was plenty of Christmas spirit in the air.

He said: "It was a brilliant experience and an amazing role to play.

"We had a week of rehearsals over Zoom and all really gelled together.

"It's a great cast."

Michael was born and bred in Greenock and after a few years living away from Inverclyde, he's recently moved to Gourock.

He graduated from James Watt College with a Higher National Diploma in Acting in 2012 and he has gone on to work extensively in theatre, film and TV.

Michael has recently been involved in two big top-secret projects for Sony and Netflix, and has appeared in the BBC's Father Brown series.

Not content with channelling his creativity solely into acting, the local man is also a successful singer songwriter.

He has released two albums - Midnight Call and Doin Alright - and is preparing to release his third.

The talented actor and musician says working on his acting and musical skills simultaneously allows him to express his creativity.

He said: "When everything shut down due to the pandemic at first, I couldn't do any acting so I worked on my music.

"I was really fortunate that I started getting auditions soon after that and was still able to work through the second lockdown.

"Music and acting are two completely different disciplines but at their heart they're the same.

"They're both all about creativity.

"The acting world is so competitive.

"A casting director once told me that to set yourself apart, you have to get creative, so I do that in my acting and in my music."

Michael says he's really enjoying being back in Inverclyde and the people he meets always have an impact on his work.

He added: "If you're an actor, you have to observe everything, that's a big part of it.

"Some of the best characters you meet will be real-life people in the street."