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Interview: Emer Kenny, ‘Pramface’

Monday 07 January 2013
Words Spindle

In a thriving bar in Soho, I await Emer Kenny with my cute tamagotchi sized Coca-Cola. Like an eHarmony date that was destined to have a ‘click’ about it, the sparky young actress and writer naturally strutted in with an infectious smile, starting our chin waggle with a nose through the inviting menu. Emer ordered, I mistook Camembert for roast potatoes, the interview began.

“HIYA Emer”
“HIYA Charlie”

So Emer, I pretty much love that you’re an actress that also has a ‘behind the scenes’ writing knack and ambition about you.

I did a writing course with Ideas Tap, but in fact all I’ve done since I was 16 is write scripts. I just found it so much fun. I’ve always kept diaries, and they’d set me tasks to go back in these journals and find funny entries.

Dates gone wrong?

YES! I use my eccentric girlfriends as inspiration too.

I was doing lots of auditions at 16, but not getting many parts. I was frustrated with the roles that were out there, girls were always ‘the girlfriend’. Even if they were female heavy pieces the characters didn’t feel realistic. This was pre-Skins, but that show changed TV for young people in a big way.

Maybe the grittiest girl back in the day was Sonia in Eastenders, didn’t she give birth without even realising… while having a kebab, or was it a chip butty?

Haha, I watched that episode recently.

I started writing my own characters, if anything just for fun. But during my course, they asked if anyone wants to write a drama…FOR EASTENDERS!

It was really good to have a place in something with such a big audience. You didn’t have to win people over, but instead could add something to a format and landscape that was already a winner.

I find it amazing in soaps when an actor adopts their character for such a large chunk of their life…!

Ian Beale has been Ian Beale for 25 years!


He’s been Ian Beale for as long as you’ve been alive.

I played Zsa Zsa. She had blue hair, was really punky and mouthy, nothing like me. I loved every minute of it, but didn’t want to play a character forever. Plus I couldn’t write while I was there because there was just no time, it takes you over. So after a year my character stole an ice cream van and went to France. I was meant to leave with my boyfriend but he was a love rat.

If I was working on a soap I’d totally drink in the Queen Vic after hours.

I’ve never partied on Albert Square!?

So from the gritty East to the glossy side of life, Beaver Falls must have been a culture and career shock to the system in a great way!?

It was the best 3 months of my life. The show has a glossiness about it, but the comedy is a much more British thing. The best of both worlds. We were in Cape Town, in the sun, and my character was completely mental!

I really like the scene where you’re driving, or what looks like kidnapping a guy, as you simply scream at him.

He was my boyfriend, and I found out he cheated on me. But I actually crashed that car!

We had this beautiful vintage 1970s Beetle and I was on the other side of the road, in an American accent, babbling mentally…driving it! We did 2 days of shooting. It went perfectly, but they asked me to do one more scene that involved driving over a bridge. I asked a member of production how fast to go. He struggled into his radio, and stuttered

“’60, drive at 60”
”Yeah yeah, they’re saying 60.”

So I assumed it must be a straight road after the bridge. Turned out to be a hairpin turn…!

To make things worse, I had stupid shoes on, and the pumps got caught on the accelerator. In order to get my foot off I had to push down and go faster! All I remember is the guy on the radio ending with “andddd break!”. It turned out the instruction was ”drive safely”, not “drive 60′”. They must have thought I was mental! At least I didn’t kill anyone?’

You’re a living scene from Fast & Furious!

Maybe I should be a stunt driver?

You should. Lets write a new Fast & Furious together.

Emer Kenny 2So PRAMFACE! The new series starts this week, how would you sum up the BBC3 show?

It’s so much fun, a warm hearted family comedy really with that BBC3 quirk. A good girl goes to uni, but has a one night stand before, then finds out she’s pregnant to a 16 year-old guy. I play the judgemental, superficial and bitchy best friend. I get to say horrible things to her all the time…but in a funny way!

Although in series 2 I get a little bit nicer, where you see why they’re friends, which before you don’t really understand.

Her general outlook is “we should be at uni getting drunk, why are you at home with a baby and a loser?”, which is hilarious!

On the mention of men (and losers), what sort of guys take your fancy?

I love funny guys, he has to make me laugh. Paul Rudd, or Andy Samberg, he’s from Lonely Island


The American comedy!?


I’m really good at table tennis, I want to go on a table tennis date. I’m okay at sports, but tried it once in a pub and was like OMG I FOUND IT. EVERYONE PLAY ME!

I had a Center Parcs medal for table tennis as a teenager.


I find old crushes really weird when I look back at them, such as Mark Wahlberg for example.

I do have a little crush on Mark Wahlberg, MARKY MARK was so funny! He did workout videos and was a rapper. Maybe I’m a little obsessed with Marky Mark still?

I think you should date rappers.

Haha, YES!

How about fashion then, I’m loving your look today. City boho babe comes to mind.

I’m obsessed with big hair, the 80s and Cindy Crawford. I wouldn’t say I’m ‘into fashion’, but I definitely love clothes. Fashion can often be oppressive, where it focuses on trends and too much money. I prefer style and people who dress originally. Azealia Banks has that down. I love car boot sales, I got this from one *points at gorgeous top*.

I LIVE for boot sales.

WE SHOULD GO! Wow there’s so much bonding going on, first Marky Mark and now boot sales.

*Told you this was the perfect eharmony match*

2013 is only going to further cement Emer’s skill for acting and adding the scripts to this industry landscape. With a quirky modern eye, a love for life, and real life stories that you just couldn’t make up, this girl exudes TALENT!

Emer stars in Pramface Рwhich returns to BBC Three Tuesday January 8th at 10pm. Follow her on Twitter @MissEmerKenny

Words: Charlie Matthews

Photos: Joseph Sinclair