My Secret Life: Daniel Roche, 12, actor

'Kids my age think they should rebel'

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The Independent Online

My parents are… all right. They weren't really expecting it when I became an actor – they're definitely not pushy!

The household I grew up in… Although it was disciplined it wasn't really very strict – I understood things would be bad if I did something bad, so it ended up quite a relaxed household.

When I was a child I wanted to be… a palaeontologist. A lot of kids are obsessed with dinosaurs – but I was obsessed. I'm still a big history fan; I know it's really geeky for a 12-year-old, but I watch shows on the History Channel, American Restoration and things like that.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at… running. I don't look like I'd be that good a runner because I'm really bulky but I've long legs for my year – it makes me go further; I'm quite fast.

You may not know it but I'm no good at… football. I don't know how I've managed to survive this long without even owning one skill in football.

I wish I had never worn… I've been forced to wear a dress more than once in school plays. I played a dame, and I had to wear a dress as Toad [in The Wind in the Willows] because he pretends to be an old woman, and in a talent show I was forced by my friends to wear the same dress to do a parody of Katy Perry – ugh.

My favourite item of clothing… A leather jacket. It's usually a sign the person is quite proud of themselves; I just really like leather! My friends get really angry when I wear it all the time.

My house is… I decorated my room, it's my three favourite colours: red, black and white. We're decorating [our house]; it's becoming a lot more trendy.

A book that changed me… 1984. It really opened my eyes, and made me think about stuff. I used to enjoy the world, in ignorance, and then I read 1984 and I realised what a cynical place it is, and what it could become.

My secret crush… Marina and the Diamonds. She did this song "Hollywood" based in the era of history I really want to live in, the neon age of America, Hot Rod cars, swing and rock'*'roll music.

My real-life villains… People who say "Yolo". People in my age group follow this idea: YOLO – you only live once. They think they should spend all their time rebelling. It ends up creating an image of kids my age which I really don't like and don't want to be involved in.

The last time I cried… I haven't cried in ages. I was expecting to cry in Year Six, at the leaving ceremony, but no one did!

My five-year plan… Graduate and go to Cambridge, to study history and English.

What's the point? Trying to learn, to understand what the point is.

My life in six words… Rugby, rugby, rugby, rugby, rugby, rugby.

A life in brief

Daniel Roche was born in 1999. He stars as Ben in the sitcom Outnumbered, a semi-improvised role which saw him nominated for Best Male Newcomer at the British Comedy Awards, aged just 10. In 2010, he took the lead role in Just William, which won Best Drama at the Children's Baftas. Roche played a young Stephen Fry in Little Crackers and appeared in the film Animal Kingdom. He lives with his parents in Barnet, Hertfordshire, and attends University College School in Hampstead