James Norton says he sees diabetes as a dog ahead of reading CBeebies story

Happy Valley star James Norton is reading a CBeebies Bedtime Story to help young children understand diabetes and how it can be managed.

The actor, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 22, will read How To Manage A Mammoth written by psychologist Dr Rose Stewart and illustrated by Richard Dwyer.

Norton said: “My diabetes animal is a big shaggy dog called Bruce. When I first got Bruce, he was a puppy. He was difficult to control because he was always overexcited. Now, he’s a bit older and calmer.

“He still gets scared when someone’s at the door or he’s hungry. And then he barks very loudly. Or when he gets excited, he still runs around and knocks things over.

“But generally he strolls along by my side. Bruce is my pal. I’m pleased to say that today Bruce is under control and very calm, which makes me feel very happy and relaxed.”

The book by Dr Rose, a diabetes psychology specialist who wrote it as a collaboration with NHS Wales, is about eight-year-old Jake who imagines his diabetes is a mammoth called Mel.

The story shows Jake and his mother working with friends to shrink Mel to a more manageable size, and encourages children to think of the condition as an animal to see it as something that they will have to accept and will not disappear.

According to the NHS, type 1 diabetes occurs when your body cannot produce the hormone insulin, which controls your blood glucose and then can cause it to become too high.

It can be controlled by taking insulin and checking your glucose levels.

Norton’s CBeebies Bedtime Story will air on CBeebies at 6.50pm on Friday.