Martin Gibbons: Life as a Casting Director

It’s Monday afternoon and we’re joined in the PHA studio by Casting Director Martin Gibbons to find out all about how he became a casting director and why he never followed his dream of becoming a footballer.
  1. Martin it’s so great to have you back in the studio again. We’ve been wanting to ask for a while how exactly did you become a casting director?

It all spanned from setting up my own theatre company back in 2003 called Monkeywood where I gained experience casting for theatre. At the time I was an actor working for a telecoms company before I was made redundant. My next step came when I landed the job as a casting assistant working at Emma Stafford Casting. I learnt so much in my 5 years there before eventually setting up on my own.


  1. What’s your history both in acting & casting?

I’ve been acting ever since I was 12, my first ever role was the back end of a donkey in a pantomime, thrilling I know. My mum and dad used to put on amateur shows which I’d sell programmes at so I’ve spent my whole life around actors. I didn’t grow up wanting to be an actor, I wanted to be a footballer and even went to University to study Sports Science. I still did lots of acting on the side before setting up Monkeywood.

  1. Which casting are you most proud of?

Hands down it has to be Chris Morris’ film Four Lions, it was incredible to be a part of. I’m also really proud of the work I did casting for the BBC Short film ‘Sleeping Lions’ which won awards. Funnily enough we cast that in this very studio. One of the recent things I cast for which I’m really proud of has to be the commercial for ‘This Girl Can’ which also won awards.

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  1. What’s the worst thing you’ve experienced go wrong in a casting?

I was casting for a Hovis Farmer’s commercial, it was a group casting of 4 and the idea was for them to run towards the camera before jumping over a tiny fence. We filmed it in a car park in Chorlton where one guy ended up falling and tore his leg open, there was blood everywhere.

  1. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve been asked to do in a casting?

I could write a whole book! The strangest one though would have to be when I had to propose to a man to get their reaction on camera. One guy didn’t take it too well.


  1. What are your plans for Martin Gibbons casting moving forward?

Well, things are getting busier which is obviously great. I’m blessed enough to say that I love my job so I intend on growing even further. I feel a real sense of achievement with every job that I take on so continuing with that will be a success.

  1. We hear you also do a bit of directing from time to time, are you working on anything at the minute?

I’m currently directing ‘Just Sayin’ as part of JB Shorts in November which is very exciting for me. I’ve also got some great things lines up for next year as I’ll be directing ‘The Manchester Project’ at HOME Theatre as part of the Push Season in January and ‘Witch’ with Bolton Octagon in May.


  1. Any advice for an aspiring actor coming to cast with you?

The main thing I see from actors is that they have it in their heads that we are here to trick them or catch them out. Trust me we want you to brilliant so go into every casting with the confidence that you’re here because we believe in you.

  1. What sets you apart from other casting directors?

Ooh that’s a good question. I get told quite a lot that I make people feel comfortable and relaxed in a room and because I direct as well I’m able to give good direction to get the most out of a person.



  1. What is it you like most about casting at PHA?

There’s a whole host of reasons I love casting here. The studio space is huge which makes it perfect for a big casting. I’ve done all sorts here, football, dance, running you name it! The staff are also amazing and very welcoming which makes me feel right at home every time I return.



View the Commercial for This Girl Can here. 

Team PHA x

PHA MODELS: Suave & Sophisticated with Spencer Austin

Take a look at Spencer Austin in his latest shots!

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We can’t help but feel all cosy and ready for the winter season as Spencer shows us how to rock the jumper look!

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You can view Spencer’s full profile here. 

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For bookings and enquiries please contact:



PHA mainboard for Total Fitness #bodygoals

Great work from four of our models: Eli, Katie, Leah and Tom for Total Fitness Gyms the other week.

Take a scroll below for our favourite shots from this lovely little fitness campaign.


Eli and Katie.


Tom K.


Leah B.


Keep your eyes peeled for more fitness shots around Total Fitness.

Great work guys!

PHA models x

Icon Actors: Reece Douglas sky dives for charity!

We would like to say a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Icon’s Reece Douglas on his charity skydive earlier today.

Reece reached his target for ‘Once upon a smile’ a charity that works with supporting bereaved families.




Here is an example of the difference Once Upon a Smile Charity made to one family, written by a bereaved parent.

“Our lives had just been turned upside down. It was painful enough telling our young son that his dad had died, let alone telling him the funeral was not going ahead. I cannot thank Once Upon a Smile enough for supporting us with the funeral costs and the ongoing support of gift cards for groceries. I do not know what I would have done without Once Upon a Smile”

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To sponsor Reece click here.

You can also view Reece’s full profile here.

Amazing work Reece we are all so proud here at the agency!




We caught up with PHA beauty Rachel Peru following her recent appearance on Loose Women as part of the #MyBodyMyStory campaign. Here’s what she had to say:


How did you first get involved with the campaign? 

Inspired by the Loose Women #MyBodyMyStory campaign Mya Fawcitt photographer from Silvery Moon Photography put a call out on Facebook for any willing volunteers to have their photographs taken wearing only their underwear to help promote body positivity. I volunteered immediately as I think it’s something that really needs to be encouraged more and having two teenage daughters of my own I can see how important it is that we try and challenge the medias portrayal of beauty. Women in today’s society are put under so much pressure from a young age to look a certain way when in fact we should be embracing our individuality and judging others a lot less.

Would you say that you’ve always had the confidence to do something like this? 

I have always struggled with my body shape and particularly my chest size 34FF as I was always bigger than all my friends growing up which definitely knocked my self confidence. It wasn’t until I turned 40 that I began to accept and love myself and embrace my curves which I now love.


Can you tell us a bit more about the other women in the photo with you?

We are a mixed group of 12 women, some friends some complete strangers, ranging from 23 to 57, with a very mixed bag of body issues. The photographer Mya also did the shoot in her underwear so everyone was equal.

What have you been up to since shooting the Facebook campaign? 

Since the shoot and sharing our photos on social media I have been live on Radio Leeds with Mya and Laura to talk about body positivity and then we got the call from the Loose Women team. I don’t think anyone involved had thought past the initial photo day so to then go on live TV in our underwear was a completely different level, however as we all now talk most days I can see the difference in confidence levels so everyone was happy to do it.


What was the highlight of your day on Loose Women? 

We all had a fabulous day with Loose Women and I have to admit the glass of Prosecco prior to going on helped. The whole point of this was to remind women that we all have our own body stories and society’s perception of beauty needs to be challenged. The whole group came away from the studio feeling liberated and happy that they’ve got involved. The icing on the cake was the afternoon tea treat on a London tour bus where we relaxed, drank tea, Prosecco and ate lots of  yummy cakes. I didn’t know any of these women before hand and they have become real friends and I have been completely inspired by them.


Make sure to follow us on Instagram Twitter & Facebook for more inspirational stories and to keep up to date with what our models are getting up to.

Love PHA x


David Chafer, playing Peter Taylor in Red Ladder’s production of ‘The Damned United’, touring and Edinburgh Fringe 2017


We caught up with Icon’s David Chafer to find out all the gossip on his latest role in ‘The Damned United’ which has had raving reviews so far. Here’s what he had to say:



This is the first time I have worked at the Fringe, after 20 years of coming to the festival and soaking up the myriad of theatre, dance, music, comedy and cabaret that August in Edinburgh has to offer. I love it here, always have and especially this year!


This production of ‘The Damned United’ is a re-imagined version from the company’s original West Yorkshire premiere in 2016. Director Rod Dixon and writer Anders Lustgarten have judiciously trimmed the script to ensure we hit the hour-long version required by The Pleasance, as a result the universal view is that this version highlights more the relationships between Brian Clough (played by Luke Dickson) and his sidekick Taylor and Clough’s trials and tribulations with the numerous football club directors and coaches (played by Jamie Smelt). This is a great company and it’s brilliant to work with a group of Yorkshire based theatre-makers and actors – something very important to me and my own company The Melting Shop.



We were fortunate to have a number of performances pre Edinburgh, including a couple of gigs at Hibernian FC the weekend prior to our opening at the Fringe. It is certainly a play that appeals to football fans, particularly those of a certain age – like me – who remember the days of Clough and Taylor at Derby and Nottingham Forest. But what has also been interesting is that even for those with little or no knowledge of the beautiful game and these well-known figures, it has also appealed because the football and the story are the backdrop to the relationships between the characters: the highs and lows, the egos and power-brokering. Audience reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, with a number of sell-out shows in the 146-seat Pleasance Above venue. It helps when there are a smattering of four-star reviews to give the show further traction (apologies for the shameless bragging)!


Fringe life is pretty full on – our show has had two days off in the month – and ensuring that the show is up and ready in a 20-minute turnaround after the previous performance, including building walls, connecting projectors and setting props/costume etc, certainly concentrates the mind. Yes, the post-show fun is good, but pacing yourself is equally important! We are a tight company, with a similar sense of humour and we all enjoy a beer and good food. At times, life in the flat has resembled one of those TV family cooking shows – we’re thinking of applying.


Our Damned United journey does not end in Edinburgh, the show is set to tour again later this year, including a week at The Pleasance, Islington (13-18 Nov) and plans are being drawn up for a further tour in 2018. Back of the net!


If you can’t wait until November you can still catch David in action until Monday 28th August at the The Pleasance, Edinburgh. Get your tickets now before the sell out!



Craig Devlin with Grace B

Main board Grace B looks incredible in her latest shots by Craig Devlin.

For bookings and enquiries regarding grace please email:

Scroll down for more.





You can view Grace’s full profile here.

View more of Craig Devlin’s photography here. 

Great work guys x

PHA Families: Lunar Caravans 2018 #betogether


We’re really proud about this project with Wash Design for Lunar Caravans here at the agency.

Starring our very own talent and mini talent: Lee White, Gina Whitaker, Tayla-Daisy Hoyle and Dewey Wright.

Scroll down to view the promotional film in full:













We’d love to hear your thoughts on this online commercial, feel free to Tweet us @phamodels with the hashtag #betogether

Click here to view the video live on the Lunar Caravans website.

You can also click here to follow Wash Design on Twitter.

Great work guys!