Michael Socha

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Michael Socha
Born(1987-12-13) 13 December 1987 (age 24)[1]
Derby, Derbyshire, England
ResidenceDerby, England
Known forThis Is England, This Is England '86, Being Human
Height5 feet 8 inches (173 cm)
ParentsRobert Socha (father)
Kathleen Lyons (mother)
RelativesLauren Socha (sister)
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Michael Socha
Born(1987-12-13) 13 December 1987 (age 24)[1]
Derby, Derbyshire, England
ResidenceDerby, England
Known forThis Is England, This Is England '86, Being Human
Height5 feet 8 inches (173 cm)
ParentsRobert Socha (father)
Kathleen Lyons (mother)
RelativesLauren Socha (sister)

Michael Socha (born 13 December, 1987) is an English actor, best known for his roles in the critically acclaimed films This Is England and Summer,[2] and the television series This Is England '86 and Being Human.[3]


Early life

Socha was born in Derby, England, to Robert and Kathleen Socha (nicknamed "Kath") on 13 December 1987.[4] He is the older brother of actress Lauren Socha, star of the Channel 4 comedy-drama Misfits. Michael was raised in Littleover - a suburb of Derby.[2] and attended St Benedict Catholic School.[4] Socha was a rebellious pupil, and in his own words "a little shit".[2] He often skipped school, but when forced to attend he tried to make it fun by doing the things he was most interested in.[5] At the age of 11 Michael unsuccessfully auditioned for the lead role in a school musical play.[6] When Michael was 12, his mother read in a local newspaper about a play being cast by the Chellaston Youth Players. She asked her son and daughter if they wanted to try out for it, and both did.[7] Michael's motivation for auditioning was his anger at being denied a role in the musical and his desire to prove his teachers wrong about his acting skills.[2] He won the lead role of Bugsy Malone in the play.[6][8] He acted in several plays for the group, but by his own admission did not take acting very seriously.[8]

Through teachers at Michael's school the family learned about film director Ian Smith's Central Television Junior Workshop,[6] a free actors' workshop for young people from the Nottingham area.[4] He enrolled in the course when he was 14,[2] but was almost refused admission as he had failed to learn the monologue for his audition and was put in the "reserve group". His second audition went the same way, but the programme relented and allowed him in after a time.[2] Michael says the workshop had a strong impact on him, and he began working hard at acting.[8] His first professional role came when he was cast in a small part in a short film.[2] He was quickly cast in several small parts subsequently, and hired an agent.[8]

Socha's father had a long history of alcohol abuse, and his parents separated.[2] In 2004, Robert Socha died of an alcohol-related heart attack.[2][4] According to Kath Socha (a residential social worker),[2] the death of Michael's father made her son very independent. "Michael was walking the streets of London at 16 going to auditions. He had to because I was working. He'd go off with a map and Tube fare."[4]

Michael Socha liked drama, English and history courses, however, and received his GCSEs in those three subjects.[2] He credits his teacher, Mrs Urquhart-Hughes, as someone who watched over him, motivated him, and got him to do his homework after school.[5]

His first job after leaving school was in a manufacturing factory.[5] He disliked it and quit, and enrolled at Burton College, a further education school.[9] He worked at two other factories after leaving school, as well as at a car wash. He also worked as a labourer for his uncle's bricklaying firm, mixing mortar for the bricklayers. But as he was constantly taking off work at the last moment to attend auditions he quit working full time and dedicated himself to acting.[5]


Socha's breakthrough role came early in his acting career. In 2006, he was cast as the bully Harvey in Shane Meadows's skinhead subculture film, This Is England.[8]

In 2008, he was cast in Kenneth Glenaan's BAFTA Scotland-award winng film Summer, where he acted opposite Robert Carlyle.[8] The same year, he appeared in Duane Hopkins's film Better Things and the independent small-budget comedy Dogging: A Love Story.[8] He also appeared in three episodes of the BBC One medical drama Casualty.[8] In February 2009, Socha made his stage debut at Nottingham Playhouse in Glamour, a comedy by Stephen Lowe.[2][8] The same year, he appeared in an episode of the science fiction police drama Paradox on BBC One and in the made-for-television film The Unloved for Channel Four.[10]

Despite his initial success, Socha was "penniless" and "waiting for work" for much of 2009 and early 2010, sitting at home and watching daytime television.[3] His next big break came when Shane Meadows asked him to reprise the role of Harvey the bully for a four-part television series for Channel Four.[3] The series, This Is England '86, follows the lives of the film's characters three years after the events originally depicted. It aired in September 2010. That same year, Socha appeared in an episode of the hit television comedy Married Single Other[3] as well as the film Bonded by Blood.[10] He also appeared in the This Is England Christmas special, and in a music video with American soul music singer Lauren Pritchard.[10]

Socha appeared in BBC Three's hit supernatural series Being Human in 2011, receiving good critical notice as the innocent young werewolf Tom McNair.[7] He almost did not appear on the show. He missed his audition after a taxicab hit him and fled the scene while he was helping a friend move furniture across a road in Normanton. Although only bruised, he missed his audition and had to plead for a second chance.[10] He won the role of Tom, a young werewolf who has been brought up in the wild by his father and taught to hunt vampires. During the transformation scenes, Socha was asked to appear nude. Socha's friends worried about how they themselves would react to doing nude scenes, but Socha says, "I just thought 'fuck it, I’ll do it'". He discussed the scenes with co-star Russell Tovey, who convinced him to do the scenes nude. Socha says that after about 30 minutes he relaxed and began to enjoy the filming.[5] During his time on Being Human, Socha says he became good friends with Tovey and co-star Robson Green. Socha has admitted that he can get carried away while performing some of his more physically demanding scenes (such as running naked through the woods). On another occasion, acting out a werewolf transformation in a metal cage, he almost injured himself after his physical acting became too extreme. He has received at least seven minor injuries requiring medical treatment and reporting to authorities.[10]

Socha was upgraded from a recurring role to the main cast for the fourth series of Being Human, after the previous main cast, including Russell Tovey, left the show. The fourth series started airing in February 2012.[11]

Personal life

As of October 2010, Socha had a girlfriend, Faye, whom he had dated for more than five years.[6]

Socha says he likes to spend his spare time going out or relaxing at home doing nothing. He has a fondness for French cinema (although he speaks no French) and for reality television shows like Big Brother.[6] His favourite football team is Derby County[10]

He told the publication Gay Times that he struggles with being a well-known actor. "It’s hard trying to find that balance between being who I am in Derby with the people I’m with in Derby, and then being Michael the actor, and it’s quite hard finding that balance. That’s what I always struggled with at school. I’m still gonna be Michael who’s Michael, it’s just I do a bit of acting, and some of the lads take the piss, but then after a year or so it’s just who I was and if they didn’t like it they could fuck off."[5]


2006This is EnglandBully (Harvey)
2008Better ThingsMike
2008-2009CasualtyRyan6 episodes
2009Dogging: A Love StoryJim
2009The UnlovedMichaelTV movie
2009HarvestYebsleyTV movie
2009ParadoxZac HenleyTV mini-series; 1 episode
2010CutFood Dude
2010Married Single OtherSpud1 episode
2010Bonded by BloodDonny Svenson
2010Break ClauseNick
2010This is England '86Harvey4 episodes
2011This is England '88Harvey3 episodes
2011-Being HumanTom McNair12 episodes
2012Twenty8kTony MarchettoCompleted
2013Spike IslandTBAfilming


  1. ^ "Better Things | Cast - Page 6 : Joel | Mike". betterthingsthefilm.co.uk. http://www.betterthingsthefilm.co.uk/Cast_6. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Scott, Jennifer (2009-02-05). "Michael Socha, Glamour, Nottingham Playhouse". This is Nottingham. http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/Glamour-Boy-Michael-s-amazing-acting-journey/story-12259684-detail/story.html. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  3. ^ a b c d "ACTOR Michael Socha has revealed that he was broke and sitting at home watching the Jeremy Kyle Show when he got a call that would make 2010 his best year yet.". This is Derbyshire. 2010-09-04. http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/broke-watching-daytime-telly-fame-came-calling/story-11624513-detail/story.html. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Our family had to conquer heartbreak on the road to stardom". This is Derbyshire. 2011-05-27. http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/family-conquer-heartbreak-road-stardom/story-12130914-detail/story.html. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Hot new star of Being Human: Michael Socha - In This Issue". GayTimes. 2011-06-30. http://www.gaytimes.co.uk/Magazine/InThisIssue-articleid-7803-sectionid-746.html. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Amy Williams (2010-10-31). "Michael Socha, Paul Wesley and George Lamb: Meet the TV talent worth turning on for | Mail Online". dailymail.co.uk. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1323923/Michael-Socha-Paul-Wesley-George-Lamb-Meet-TV-talent-worth-turning-for.html. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  7. ^ a b "Do you fancy being in a play? How Lauren and Michael caught the acting bug". This is Derbyshire. 2011-05-27. http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/fancy-play-Lauren-Michael-caught-acting-bug/story-12130854-detail/story.html. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i "A touch of Glamour". This is Derbyshire. 2009-02-13. http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/touch-Glamour/story-11557782-detail/story.html. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  9. ^ Merry, Louise (2011-07-06). "Burton and South Derbyshire College guide". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/universities-and-colleges/8492032/Burton-and-South-Derbyshire-College-guide.html. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "LIFE will never be the same for Michael Socha. Every time there's a full moon, whether he's shopping in Asda or drinking in a pub in Friar Gate, he gets an irresistible urge – to transform into a werewolf.". This is Derbyshire. 2011-04-30. http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Michael-s-werewolf-role-transformation/story-11626701-detail/story.html. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  11. ^ Rebecca Denton. "Being Human Blog: Toby's Blog is Back". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/beinghuman/2012/01/tobys_blog_is_back.html. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 

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