SWINDON is an area of untapped movie potential, according to a local director with more than 100 film credits to his name.

Tony Manders, 69, left his job at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham six years ago to become a full-time actor – much to the surprise of his wife Lesley.

He now works on student movies and set up Kerchak Films alongside John Pasternak to help provide other studios with production and special effects.

But despite his success Tony has not been attracted away to the bright lights from his home in Royal Wootton Bassett.

He told the Adver: “There’s a lot of prime talent in this area – cast and crew – and as an actor I get fed up with having to go over to London, Bristol or Cardiff to do things.

“So we thought 'let’s see if we can grow something here'. I like the area. I genuinely think Swindon’s underrated.

“I think there’s a lot of good things going on in the town, I genuinely do.

“The selling point for me is, let’s showcase what we’ve got around Swindon. Not just the people and the talent but the places.

“You go 10 minutes outside of Swindon and you’ve got some great countryside vistas.

“We’ve even got some run-down areas which you can film in, which is great.”

Tony, who has five children and 10 grandchildren, revealed how he made a dramatic career change in his sixties.

He said: “About six years ago, on a train to York, I told my wife ‘I think I’m going to give up my job and just act’.

“After she picked herself up off the floor I did say I’d make sure the money was okay to see if I could do it.

“It’s just the chance to do something you want to do rather than what you have to do for a mortgage, children or grandchildren – so that’s what I decided to do.”

The move wasn’t completely out of the blue for Tony as he used to take part in amateur stage shows during his 36 years in the army.

Now, after only a relatively short time in the job, Tony has amassed 137 film credits. Around half of them are listed on the popular website Imdb.

He said: “When I was in the army, I did a lot of amateur stage work, putting shows on for the lads wherever we were and internationally occasionally.

“So I’d always done theatre work and I still do now. But I thought ‘is this something I want to do full time?’ and the answer was yes.”