Our Girl star Michelle Keegan talks animal encounters, male friendships and why her new role in Sky comedy Brassic, left her helpless with laughter
Our Girl and former Coronation Street actor, Michelle Keegan stars as a feisty and fiercely independent single mum in a new comedy created by and also starring, Joe Gilgun (Emmerdale, This Is England).
Set in Lancashire, the six part drama, co-written by Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless, Ordinary Lies) features the antics of a group of close-knit mates who’ve spent their lives scamming, blagging and doing whatever it takes to survive and also stars Hollywood’s Dominic West as the local GP.
Joe plays bi-polar Vinnie, whose loyal best friend is Dylan (Ripper Street’s Damien Molony) while dodgy mechanic JJ (Parth Thakerar), champion kebab-eater Cardi (Tom Hanson), sex-dungeon owner Tommo (Ryan Samson) and Irish traveller Ash (Aaron Heffernan) make up their tight group of chums.
Here in an exclusive interview with TV Times, Michelle Keegan who stars as Dylan’s girlfriend, Erin, tells us why working on the comedy was the craziest job she’s ever had and talks bizarre animal encounters and attacks of the giggles…
What made you want to get involved?
Michelle Keegan: “I knew I wanted to be in it as soon as I read the script. It’s very rare that I laugh out loud but I did with this. I did a bit of comedy on the series Plebs, but it was only one episode and it was something I wanted to do more of. I’m also a big fan of Danny Brocklehurst, who helped write the series with Joe and who also wrote Ordinary Lies that I was in a few years ago. Joe, who’s sprinkled his amazing uniqueness on it, and Danny, have created something really special together and I can honestly say there’s nothing else like it on TV.”
Tell us about your character Erin…
MK: “She’s a single mum who hasn’t had the best start in life but who is desperate to give her little boy Tyler the opportunities she never had. She’s in a relationship with Dylan (Ripper Street’s Damien Molony) who she absolutely loves but she’s constantly frustrated because he’s always being led wildly astray by Vinnie. The three of them, Erin, Vinnie and Dylan are in this kind of triangle together. Erin really wants to be with Dylan but he’s pushing her away by choosing Vinnie all the time.”
What did you like most about playing her?
MK: “I love playing feisty roles and Erin is definitely feisty but as the series goes along you see her vulnerable side, which no-one really expects so I loved that as well.”
How was it being in your first full comedy series?
MK: “It’s the craziest but funniest thing I’ve ever worked on. There was so much laughing on set. There’s a scene later in the series where Erin’s brother arrives and I couldn’t actually look at anyone’s face because I was laughing so much and we were under pressure to finish filming. You’ll notice I’m either looking down or looking away. To be fair, that’s what it was like on a daily basis filming Brassic!”
Animals feature quite heavily in the series.Which was the funniest animal scene to film?
MK: “We did one with some llamas, I’ve never been close to one before but the one we had on set was very cute. We were doing a big fight scene but because llamas don’t like noise we were acting out the cheering, clapping and shouting in complete silence so we didn’t spook it. The whole thing was very surreal to do.”
What was it like working with Joe?
MK: “I’d watched Joe in Emmerdale and This is England, but never met him before, and he’s just hilarious, so we had such a great time. There’s never a dull moment with Joe. You could be really quiet in make-up having a cup of tea and he’ll come in, 100 miles an hour and will lift your energy so much it lasts for the rest of the day! He’s a brilliant actor, I sometimes forgot my lines because I was so into what he was doing and watching him, it would throw me.”
What was it like being in a predominantly male cast?
MK: “I’m used to it! I don’t know if it’s in my contract or something! (laughing) I need to speak to my agent because for some reason for the past four years, I only seem to work with lads. But, honestly, we all get on so well. We’re all mates and I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy anyway.”
Did you all socialise together after a day of filming?
MK: “Yeah, we were all staying in the same block of flats in Manchester. What tended to happen was during the week we’d be good and stay in and learn our lines for the next day, or maybe just go for a quiet meal. Then at the weekend anyone who was around might go out for a few drinks. We had a really fun night out in a pool bar in Manchester one weekend.”
Brassic, Sky 1, Thursday 22nd August, 10pm & 11pm (also available as a box set on Sky Box Sets and Now TV).