Date of Birth : Aug 1st 1989
In 2006, O’Connell made his film debut in British drama This is England, a story about a boy growing up in 1980s England. Shane Meadows, director and writer, wrote the character Pukey Nicholls into the film specifically for O’Connell, because he was slightly too old to take the main part.
The production later won the British Academy Film Award for Best British Film. Following this, he played the lead role of 14-year-old Chris in the short film Black Dog, directed by Ian Fenton.
In 2007, O’Connell starred in Scarborough, a new play at the Edinburgh Festival and reprised his role the following year when it transferred to the Royal Court Theatre, London. He played the part of Daz, a 15-year-old schoolboy in a sexual relationship with his teacher. He also appeared as Dale Baxter in Waterloo Road, a 14 year old truent school boy who later found out he had Overactive Bladder Syndrome. Later in 2007, he appeared in an episode of ITV television series Wire in the Blood, “The Names of Angels”, and an episode of British medical drama Holby City, “Trust”.
In October 2007, O’Connell starred in an educational DVD, Between You and Me, produced by Derbyshire Constabulary, in which his character Alfie Gilchrist encounters a range of issues including underage drinking, fake ID, peer pressure, and car theft. Youth Work Now magazine described his performance as “outstanding”.
More recently, O’Connell appeared in the 2008 horror film Eden Lake.
His character, Brett, is the leader of a gang of teenagers who is provoked into a violent confrontation with the main characters. In July, the Daily Mirror reported that O’Connell was set to star alongside Kaya Scodelario in series 3 of teen dramatic comedy Skins.
He plays the character of James Cook “Cook” who is an impulsive 17 year old. He loves to have a good time and is constantly the life and soul of any party. Cook shows a great interest in the ladies, and all his partying can sometimes get out of hand, leading him into trouble. O’Connell’s character is good friends with other Skins characters Freddie (Luke Pasqualino) and JJ (Ollie Barbieri), and is in love with Effy (Kaya Scodelario).