Sinead Keenan Interview
So your character is Bronagh can you tell me a little bit about her and what she’s all about?
Bronagh is quite a feisty character, quite blunt and sometimes aggressive but mainly she directs it at her brother Conor, who bears the brunt. Of the four of them, she’s the one who has the most normal job – she’s a dental nurse. She tries to…I was going to say she tries to keep them on the straight and narrow but she doesn’t really she puts up with their shenanigans and gets on with it. I think if you were to dig deep - very deep - you’ll find there’s a nice person trying to get out.
The stereotype of Irish people is of them being feckless, party-loving booze-hounds – this doesn’t exactly blow that out of the water, does it?
In my experience when I got to London in my early twenties it was very similar. Your friends become your family so you spend a lot of time with them and a lot of that time just happens to be spent in a public house where you might imbibe some alcohol maybe one or two. I mean it could be four Americans living in Canada or four English people living in Timbuktu – if they have any pubs in Timbuktu! Obviously London Irish is fiction so it’s all heightened but it is grounded in some truth in that a lot of the stories are kind of based on Lisa Mcgee, the writer’s life so they do come from some tiny element of truth but with a fair bit of dramatic licence.
And you’re from Southern Ireland, so how was it imitating the accent?
Yes, I’m from Dublin but it was ok. My mum’s from Belfast so I spent a lot of time in Belfast as a kid and she has a very soft Belfast accent as opposed to a strong one but it was fine. I usually play English so if I hear myself using my own Dublin accent I find it weird now because I’ve played English so it was nice to do an Irish accent but not my own.
You filmed London Irish as a pilot originally. How confident were you that it was going to be picked up?
We certainly hoped it would. Everyone was very positive. I suppose for self-preservation we wanted to hold back a bit just in case because you never know the way these things will go but we certainly did hope. Then apparently Caroline Leddy our Executive Producer was saying that this was the quickest commission that she’d ever had. They handed it in to Channel 4 I think on a Friday afternoon and then Saturday lunch time they got the call to say yes we want it so that was good.
Was there a lot of improvisation or?
With a script as good as Lisa’s there’s not really any need to be jigging around with it. Everything was on the page.
And who was the worst for corpsing on set?
The biggest corpser... I think we all fell afoul of that at some point but certainly Kerr who plays Conor just by the way he was playing Conor had us in stiches a lot of the time.
Are there any moments that stand out in particular, Kerr mentioned about licking cheese?
Yes in one of the episodes we’re at an art gallery and there was a table of cheese. Production had spent like £500 on this table of cheese – really good cheese and I love cheese but it was so hot and we were there for three days and you know the phrase ‘let the cheese sweat’ I’ve never actually seen lumps of cheese physically sweating. Doug our props guy was literally having to go over with kitchen roll and dab it down. Now Kerr the only one out of the three of us who doesn’t like cheese had to eat the cheese and then not only had to eat it but lick the cheese – the sweaty cheese!
What are you career ambitions, what’s next?
My ambitions would be… Next I’d like to do a bit of drama as this is full on comedy but to be honest I don’t really have any other ambitions other than to work on something that’s good and has a good script. We were blessed with Lisa’s script so as long as it’s good.
Have you ever done any comedy before?
Yes I did a comedy for ITV a few years ago called Moving Wallpaper which was fun and Being Human was kind of classed as a comedy drama so there were little hints of comedy. Lisa used to write for that as well. In terms of all out comedy this and Moving Wallpaper. I also did a pilot for Channel 4 called The Amazing Dermot.