A BARRY toddler has made her small screen acting debut in a nationwide BBC One drama serial hailed as the channel’s answer to Downton Abbey.

20-month-old Matilda Fitt will be seen on screen, aged 15 months, in Poldark based on the novels by Winston Graham and a re-make of the popular series screened in the late seventies.

The eight-part peak-time drama sees ‘Tilly’ play Julia, the daughter of Ross Poldark, played by Aidan Turner, and Demelza played by Eleanor Tomlinson.

Her role comes straight after she was discharged from the care of Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales.

Matilda was born nine weeks premature and spent five weeks in intensive care.

The plucky toddler had dealt with lung problems and pneumonia and had tube feeding and oxygen tent treatment, from birth, before she was discharged in September last year and strolled straight into her TV cameo.

Mum Hannah Fitt, director of the SAFE Foundation charity, said Matilda had acted her part out after her sister-in-law and the tot’s auntie Louise Mackintosh had seen an agency advert looking for a young girl fitting Matilda’s age and looks profile.

Hannah, 34, said: “They didn’t tell me what it was for – it was just a BBC production. Then they said Poldark and I’d never heard of it. When I said to my mum she said it was a huge BBC show.”

Matilda and her mum and auntie Louise had five days on-set in Bristol in September last year. Matilda had a chaperone, her own trailer and a rider of green grapes. Filming the role involved bribing with “not very 18th century” toys and Mr Men books.

Hannah said two babies played the younger Julia until Matilda played her older self.

Hannah said: “She’s got a death scene - spoiler alert - she dies of scarlet fever. She was amazing – she didn’t know what was going on. It was 18th century make-up and dark and Ross Poldark had a scar on his face. She coped really well and she had to die. Trying to get a 15-month-old to die is hilarious. She is lying on a bed and the doctor is mopping her brow and I am there with sweets. She had her own trailer which was hilarious.”

Matilda’s future plans now revolve around swimming, rhyme and sign, and sessions at Babi Bach with an ambition to learn to speak both Welsh and English.

Hannah added: “It was the first time we did something together that wasn’t in a hospital. She is amazing. She is my special star.”