Nativity filming

Sparkle and shine: I was one of the kids in Nativity and this is what it was actually like

The graduate said Mr Poppy used to play hand games with them between filming

If you ask anyone, I bet they’ll say they were always so jealous of the kids in Nativity and they just wanted to be them. But instead, when you were eight you were looking after your Nintendogs, eating Frubes and making up dances with your cousins at family parties.

But when Becca Maguire was eight she was living it up in Coventry and then LA with Mr Maddens and Mr Poppy filming for one of the most iconic Christmas films ever.

Becca played Saffron in the film, one of the kids of St Bernadette’s who went with Mr Maddens to LA to try and convince Hollywood to come to their Nativity.

Now 23 and a UCL uni graduate, she spoke to The Tab about what it was like filming Nativity back in the day:

‘There were so many auditions back and forth’

Becca got the Nativity gig after joining a drama club which had the opportunity for a children’s acting agency. She did a TV advert and lots of auditions for different things before having several auditions for Nativity.

She said when she got to the audition room with her mum, they were intimidated by “all these children in jazz costumes, really rehearsed and tiptoeing around and then there was just me in my school uniform.”

“I think they wanted very natural children”, she said and that’s why she was picked.

The whole film was shot in an eight-week period in Coventry, most of which was done in the six-week summer holiday.

‘Mr Poppy was very much Mr Poppy on and off scene’

When asked what acting with actors like Martin Freeman or Marc Wootton, who plays Mr Poppy, Becca said it was “so, so amazing”. She said both actors were very similar off-screen to on-screen which genuinely makes my heart so happy.

“Mr Maddens was a lot more aloof and stern but he was still lovely, especially in LA he was so lovely.”

“Mr Maddens was a lot more aloof and stern but he was still lovely, especially in LA he was so lovely.”

“Mr Poppy was totally crazy. You know, both of them are very similar to what you saw on film.”

“Mr Poppy was very much Mr Poppy on and off screen and we just knew him as Mr Poppy and Mr Maddens again the same but a bit sterner I think so it wasn’t such a big transition on and off camera.”

She said one of her favourite memories was “playing clapping games with Mr Poppy”.

‘My favourite scenes to film had to be in LA’

Nativity filming

Her favourite scenes to film were when she got to go to LA with Michael McAuley, the boy who played William as well as their parents, Martin Freeman and the crew.

The producers of the film spoke to her dad early on in the filming process and said they were thinking of going to LA to film but they weren’t sure it was in the budget so told them not to tell anyone.

But they did end up having the budget so they went to LA filming for a week and then had a few days off in LA. “I remember going to this Thorpe Park kind of place in America. It was really, really fun.”

Nativity filming

“Everyone was amazing, I remember loving my makeup artist Brittany I genuinely thought she looked like a Princess, I thought she was so beautiful.”

‘Everyone was not happy with me and my dad because I had cut my hair’

Becca said that the whole filming process was very chill. There were no learning lines or anything and all the acting was natural. There was a time, in LA, when she said: “Everyone was really not happy with me and my dad because I had cut my hair in the middle of filming.”

She also remembers being  jealous because of her hair and not being able to have “all these really cool hairstyles”.

Nativity filming

“The girl who played Crystal had all these cool clips and all these crazy hairstyles and I was jealous that I didn’t have anything jazzy.”

But from the set she managed to take a bag of hair clips that were used in her hair and had a book which all the cast signed but she sadly left it in Coventry.

Nativity filming

‘I tell literally no one’

Despite being a bit of a child star, Becca said she is “very low-key about it.”

“I tell literally no one apart from when it comes up if I’m watching with a friend. Nah but if I was playing clapping games with Mr Poppy I would NOT be keeping quiet about it.”

Nativity filming

Whilst she said Nativity isn’t her favourite Christmas film she does tend to watch it every year: “We literally watched it this weekend me, my mum, my sister and my dad.”

“But when people say it’s their favourite film and I’m obsessed I’m like, really?” Her favourite Christmas films are Love Actually and The Holiday.

Her favourite scene is the concert at the end and her favourite song is “Brightest Star” and honestly? Taste.

She’s recently been catching up with one of her co-stars

Until recently, Becca hasn’t been in contact with anyone from the cast but she’s been catching up and chatting with the boy who played Michael after starting up her TikTok and posting behind-the-scenes content recently.

“We’ve been chatting a lot which is really nice because obviously we haven’t talked in about 14 years. But I’m really catching up with him talking about what we’re both doing.”

Becca did an advert for Morrisons after Nativity and then stopped acting as it “was just a bit too much with school” so jokes she was a “washed up child star”. She finished school and studied art history at UCL and has just come back from travelling around Australia and Asia after finishing her master’s. She’s currently working in a nursery whilst applying for a PhD.

“I think it’s written very well and I love it, it’s just awkward that you’re in it yourself.”

“But the whole thing is mad but I absolutely loved it. Obviously, now I’m 23 and I sort of look back and be like wow it’s crazy I did that.”

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