Badults’ Emer: ‘Rachel’s the sane one!’

Emer Kenny – best known for playing Zsa Zsa Henry in EastEnders – stars in new BBC3 sitcom Badults, about three flatmates struggling to be grown-ups. And it seems Emer herself enjoyed being a kid again…

Your new show, Badults, looks utterly crazy. What was it like to film?
“It was nuts! It was hilarious, but I found it really nerve-wracking because I’ve never done anything live before like my co-stars Matthew Crosby, Ben Clark and Tom Parry, who are in a comedy troupe called Pappy’s. The boys come alive in front of a live audience, so I really learned a lot from them and by the end I wasn’t so nervous.”

So, just who are these Badults?
“Well, flatmates Tom, Ben and Matthew are all just idiots. Matthew’s neurotic, Tom’s loud, while Ben’s a little bit slow. They are almost cartoon characters of people who are bad at being adults!”

And where does your character, Rachel, fit in?
“Rachel is Matthew’s sister, who’s basically the sane one among all the madness. She doesn’t live in the flat, but she comes over a lot to visit the boys and, once she sees what they are up to, she tries to help them hold it together, but often makes things worse!”

Was it easy to ‘play it straight’ opposite all of the craziness that’s going on?
“It’s so hard when everyone’s saying funny lines and you have to deliver the straight line to keep the story going while trying not to laugh. It’s a challenge, but I did enjoy it.”

The flatmates get involved in lots of hare-brained schemes. What can you tell us?
“Throughout the series, the trio go on a string of wild adventures. In each episode they get an idea in their heads and try to make it a reality so, for instance, they might hatch a plan to all get girlfriends or to start a pop-up restaurant. They are idiots… but they mean well.”

Can you tell me a bit about the ‘scheme’ in the very first episode?
“That’s the ‘Money’ episode, which is where they accidentally withdraw more money than they need to from a cashpoint – from an account that isn’t theirs – then try not to spend it. But, of course, they inadvertently spend it all and madness ensues.”

There’s a fantastic array of costumes in the show – at one point the boys dress up as spatulas! – is there any wacky dressing up for Rachel?
“Not so much. In every episode, the boys dress up as something unusual, but there is a flashback episode where I dress up as my 11-year-old self and the boys are like their 15-year-old selves. It’s hilarious… I had braces, massive glasses, spots painted all over my face and a wig. It was really good fun.”

You had blue hair when you played Zsa Zsa in EastEnders – do you miss playing her?
“I still have a real fondness for EastEnders and I’ve written for it since then so I’m still sort of involved with it. But, when you play the same character for such a long time, you start to itch for something else, so it’s nice to try different things.”

Do you prefer writing or acting?
“I love both actually. I honestly couldn’t do one without the other. I think I would go mad if I just sat at my laptop all day… the cabin fever soon starts to set in.”

Can you tell us about any other projects you’re working on?
“At the moment, I’m working on some ideas for new shows, still very much about young people because that’s where my heart lies. Badults is young and fun and BBC3’s got great comedy, so it’s a good home for it. I hope people enjoy it.”

Badults starts on Tuesday, July 23 BBC3.