Pramface: Playing the pregnant teenager


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Pramface centres around two unlikely teenagers who are thrown together after a night of post A-level partying.

I play Laura Derbyshire, the very unlucky pregnant 18-year-old by the even unluckier 16-year-old Jamie Prince.

Both them and their families are forced kicking and screaming into bringing their lives together, into one big unplanned and unprepared-for melting pot.

The script written by Chris Reddy was, as an actor, one of those rare gems that I knew I would love every minute of making.

Exams are over, the drinks are flowing and across the room Jamie sees Laura...

Most days I laughed so hard my face ached, my stomach cramped and my mascara ran.

Sean Michael Verey who plays Jamie, and with whom I had some of my funniest scenes, shares a similar sense of humour to me.

Which was both a blessing and a curse. Most of the time I was giggling just reading the scenes so by the shoot I was normally in bits.

I resorted to trying not to look the other cast in the eye whilst filming because I was constantly stifling a smirk. Not an easy task, and not entirely helpful to the others who were normally trying to control their own fits too.

And of course Angus Deayton and Anna Chancellor who play Laura's not-too-enthusiastic parents were just funny, brilliant people to work with.

Anna Chancellor as Laura's mum

Angus has an amazing quick wit in a quiet and really understated manner that he makes you giggle when you least expect it.

And Anna being a tall, beautiful and experienced actress has an amazing presence, which she brilliantly cuts through with her own brand of humour.

So basically when you combine those cast members with Dylan Edwards, Yasmin Paige, Ben Crompton, Bronagh Gallagher and Emer Kenny, along with a wonderfully observed script, I was a wreck.

I even, I am ashamed to say, got sent off set one day because I couldn't control my hysterics. A BIG no-no.

Whilst we did have a great time filming, I hope audiences appreciate Pramface and get what it is about.

Jamie has the contraception chat with friends Mike and Beth

I think it is fair to say that we didn't want to let it take itself too seriously, or for it to be making in any way passing judgment on teen pregnancy.

I hope we managed to avoid some of the clichés relating to it. It was important to me for instance that Laura wasn't a down-and-out young mum from an inner city estate, but a well educated, well-informed young woman with a bright future.

After all, the point of the pregnancy isn't a comment on the youth of today. It's a catalyst for two unlikely characters to be pulled together, in various bizarre and awkward ways.

That said, no one wants to be flippant about such an emotive subject and I think due regard was paid to the many dilemmas the twosome face.

I think some of the best comedy out there walks a fine line between humour and drama and I'd like to think that audiences might recognise that in Pramface.

It felt to me to be a script full of wit but heart too, which is why I guess I enjoyed making it so much. And if people can laugh even just a hundredth of the amount I did when we made it then I'll be very happy.

Scarlett Alice Johnson plays Laura Derbyshire in Pramface.

Pramface begins on Thursday, 23 February at 9pm on BBC Three. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

You can follow Jamie's best friend Mike on Twitter and also visit the Pramface Facebook page. Read a BBC Three blog post by actor Dylan Edwards who plays Mike here.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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