Interview extra

Scarlett Alice Johnson, PramfaceFebruary 13, 2012

Scarlett Alice Johnson in Pramface

A comedy about teen pregnancy, how refreshing. Former EastEnders star Scarlett Alice Johnson — who played Vicki Fowler in the soap — gives us the heads up on her role as a mum-to-be in BBC3’s Pramface…

Scarlett Alice Johnson in PramfaceTell us about your character in Pramface.
I play Laura Derbyshire who’s 18 and comes from a fairly comfortable background. The series starts when she’s just finished her A-Levels and goes off to a sixth-form party. She becomes a little the worse for wear, meets a guy called Jamie and they have a drunken fumble, shall we say. A few weeks later she discovers she’s pregnant, meets up with Jamie and it turns out he’s actually 16 and lied about his age. It becomes sort of farcical really. It was such fun to film — I had to play drunk and a bit silly. Everyone does that when they leave school, go a bit wild.

Is Jamie from a similar background?
Laura lives in this huge house, she’s an only child and there are about eight bedrooms or something daft. Jamie comes from a lovely family home, a two up two down.

Do they agonize over whether to have the baby or not?
Oh God yeah. It’s not just a given. She does have the option not to have the baby.

Do we see the birth?
It was really crazy. We did all the labour stuff in one day. It was quite a male strong crew and by the end of the day they were grimacing, they weren’t able to look any more. Apparently I was howling, I was making feral noises!

Did you work with a newborn baby?
Yes and she was absolutely gorgeous, she was eight days old.

Did it make you broody?
It made everyone broody. I had this amazing prosthetic stomach which was quite weird. I had a whole rail of different sized bumps which were all fitted to me and weighted differently with little belly buttons. I had comedy boobs as well. It was a nice shoot because I didn’t have to worry about eating puddings because I was constantly in a baby bump.

Having a baby’s such a major milestone in life isn’t it?Pramface
A friend of mine says you can be pushing on one door to open and it doesn’t and you just lean on another which suddenly falls open. That’s how I feel about it, sometimes you just have to go with it.

Do you come from a big family?
I’m one of four, the third in my family. My older brother and sister have kids so there are loads of children in my family.

You’ve been acting since you were a child, how did you start?
I don’t really remember knowing what an actor was, I just remember I got involved in singing in choirs which became theatre which led to TV and then film. I don’t remember waking up and saying, ‘I want to be an actress’. My family’s always been really supportive.

After leaving EastEnders you spent a lot of time doing stage work, was that important to you?
I felt quite strongly that if I didn’t get back on stage I might not have the nerve to do it so I really wanted to do that. Also, it was a great opportunity. I was being offered really varied roles and I wouldn’t necessarily have had the chance to play them on screen at that time. I felt like I learnt a lot and grew from it.

What do you hope will be the reaction of young people watching Pramface?
Well it’s a comedy so I hope they laugh! I hope they enjoy it for what it is. I think it might appeal to a broad age range because people like Angus Deayton and Anna Chancellor are in it.

Mary Comerford

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