A Stevenage childhood in focus for TV drama by Celebrity MasterChef winner

PUBLISHED: 19:31 20 March 2015

Emma Kennedy

Emma Kennedy


A bestselling book about growing up in Stevenage is about to become a BBC TV comedy drama, after filming has already started.

The show has been inspired by former Hitchin Girls’ School pupil Emma Kennedy’s memoir of childhood camping trips, The Tent, The Bucket and Me, and the new series will focus on the Kennedy family’s life on a Stevenage housing estate in the 1970s.

Emma, a former Celebrity Masterchef winner as well as being a seasoned comedy performer said: “It’s really exciting. I’ve just about recovered from being on stage for Comic Relief for 27 hours non-stop – including being with Gillian Anderson as she shaved a man’s back using butter as a lubricant.

“Most of the episodes are based on real life events. It’s not a straight adaptation of my book as we mostly stay at home with the odd holiday thrown in.

“We’re mostly filming on set rather than Stevenage itself, unfortunately – although there will be lots of references to the area.

“Katherine Parkinson from The IT Crowd plays my mum Brenda, who sadly died weeks before we filmed the pilot.

“Mum actually read the scripts with me before she died – there’s a bit in the book about someone who isn’t described in a particularly flattering light. She said to me: ‘That name needs changing. Your father still sees her in the supermarket.’

“It’s a busy time for me but we’re always on the lookout for extras.

“Maybe someone from the Comet could come down and appear as an extra for the programme – and they provide free food during filming!”

Steve Coogan’s 2006 comedy Saxondale was also set in Stevenage.

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