Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 13:05 UK

Oliver role beckons for Gwion, 11

Gwion had to perform live on television each week

An 11-year-old Carmarthenshire boy has spoken of his excitement after being chosen to star as Oliver in a musical in London's West End.

Gwion will share the title role with Harry, 12, and Laurence, 11, in Cameron Mackintosh's forthcoming show.

They were chosen by Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber from eight finalists who appeared on the BBC show I'd Do Anything.

He will start rehearsals in October for the show, which opens in December.

Gwion, who had been whittled down from thousands at auditions, said: "It was very nerve-wracking at first waiting to find out and then, when I was told I was Oliver I was ecstatic.

"I couldn't quite believe it and I thought I was dreaming. My mum gave me the biggest hug ever and I couldn't breathe."

Lord Lloyd Webber, who is also judging potential Nancys in the television show, said: "Cameron and I agree we have three very different Olivers, but I think it's a great result and I think whichever Oliver you go and see you're going to get a fantastic performance."

Gwion will perform with the three finalists for the Nancy role - Jessie, Jodie and Samantha - on Saturday before the public vote for their favourite.

He was very popular and we did think he had a bit of a chance
Davina Evans, Gwion's teacher

He will then return to school on Monday for the final weeks of the term before he leaves for secondary school.

His teacher Davina Evans said the whole school was proud of him and had been supporting him during the weeks he had appeared on the TV show.

She said: "A couple of teachers have been up to the show and we realised by the response from the Nancys and from everybody there that he was very popular and we did think he had a bit of a chance but then again you're too frightened to set your sights too high.

"But we're delighted now that he has got the part.

She called Gwion a "very busy boy" with many hobbies, including swimming and playing the piano and cornet.

"He's a child that gives 100% to everything," she said.

"He takes everything in his stride."

Gwion will rotate the role of Oliver with fellow finalists Harry, from Oxfordshire - who has a Welsh-speaking mother Sian - and Laurence, from Cheshire.

They competed with the other finalists, taking on an "Oliver task" each week and performing a group number in the main television show.

Unlike the women auditioning for the role of Nancy, the boys were not chosen by the public.

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