My Almost Famous Family

While Gary and Shalondra are away Terry comes to play … his really loud guitar! Unfortunately it’s just when Toyah needs to practise for her grade eight cello exam. To make matters worse Terry insists the band perform his old embarrassing hit from the Seventies. Where’s mum and dad when you need them? Stuck in a field in the campervan with a deadly bull, that’s where.

The Swann family get their first shot at fame as the house band on a tea-time chat show. Rock and, indeed, roll! But, with Annabelle determined to cast aside Aretha and “duet” with Hadley, is this the beginning of the end for We’re In Perfect Harmony?

Emily Joyce (Mutual Friends, My Hero) is nightmarish, bottle-blonde Jill, the stage mum from hell. She lives vicariously through her daughter, but there’s no motherly love or tenderness here. Annabelle’s career and the amount of money she’s making is Jill’s only concern. There’s no love lost between Jill and the Swanns, but she recognises having them on her daughter’s show is a necessary evil.

Alan Ford (Snatch, Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels) is Terry, an old rocker who used to be in a band called Glamasaurus. With long flowing locks he’s a big kid himself who’s always trying to prove his youthfulness – whether it’s by playing a hugely-amplified guitar while doing scissor jumps off the dining table or muscling in on the kids’ rehearsal time with his ear-splitting rebel yell. The family lives in Terry’s house but he spends most of his time in a tour van on the road where he’s been working on his rock-opera comeback album for the past 30 years. Just don’t call him grandad…

“I feel sorry for her,” explains Alice Henley of her character, the bitchy Annabelle.

“She’s misunderstood. Annabelle hasn’t really had a typical upbringing, she’s been in the spotlight from a very young age and the relationship she has with her mother is more professional than personal.

“So she hasn’t got a solid grounding – she’s not used to genuine love or friendship.

“She comes across as a tough cookie, you definitely don’t mess with Annabelle, but I think beneath all that hard exterior is actually someone who wants to be loved. She has some nasty moments but it’s all a defence mechanism.

“I think she’s going to be a character you love to hate.”

Was it fun for Alice to play the mean girl?

“It was so much fun. For one of my scenes I actually got to trash my dressing room!” reveals Alice.

“We broke vases, I swept everything off of the dressing table – it’s things that you could never, ever do in real life, but you can do as a baddie. Annabelle’s one of my favourite characters I’ve ever played as she’s so ridiculous.”

What about Annabelle’s outfits – how did Alice feel about wearing her crazy clothes?

“Everything’s pink! She just never quite gets it right and proves money can’t buy taste. Sometimes she looks like a Barbie doll has thrown up on her,” laughs Alice. “It was very funny to wear though.”

Annabelle hosts her own TV show, The Totally Annabelle Show, so what’s that all about?

“Well, it reminds me of a Jonathan Ross kind of set up,” explains Alice.

“We have guests on the show and at the end there’s a song which the Swann family perform. The set is fabulous – Annabelle has a big pink chair, which we call the throne. She’s had David Beckham on the show, so it’s very popular.”

Will we be hearing Alice sing in the show?

“There is one episode where Annabelle sings and I’m not going to comment on it! In real life I never, ever sing, for reasons you’ll see when the episode comes out,” reveals Alice.

“Let’s just say I’m well aware of my musical limitations!”

Rachel Brady, eight, makes her acting debut as baby of the family Martha.

“I hadn’t done any acting before, this was my very first time,” reveals Rachel, who loves English and science at school. “I’d always wanted to act.”

So how did Rachel get the part of Martha, who is deaf?

“My sign language teacher told me about it, so I sent off a DVD audition – and they chose me,” explains Rachel. “Then I went and did an audition, which was quite scary, and they chose me again!”

So what’s Martha like?

“Martha is the one who sorts out all the problems,” giggles Rachel.

“She’s funny and sometimes bosses the others around. I would like to be like her as she’s fantastic! I got to wear very nice clothes as Martha – if there’s a party she has to wear something pink and purple. I got to keep some of the clothes too!”

Martha is deaf and Rachel has been able to sign for years as both her parents are deaf, and she attends a school which has a unit for a number of deaf children who are integrated into the school.

“I learnt to do sign language when I was very little. It was quite hard at first, but then it got easier,” she reveals. “In the end me and the signing teacher had to teach all of the cast how to sign.”

As the youngest member of the cast was Rachel seen as the baby on set?

“The other cast members looked after me – I can’t really choose a favourite cast member as all of them are my best, best friends. Even the boys are really nice.”

What was Rachel’s favourite thing about being in a TV show?

“The best thing I’d have to say is getting to meet new people,” says Rachel.”My favourite storyline would be when I had to do karate. Hadley thinks he’s stronger than Martha so I had to learn it and karate chop him!”

In the BBC documentary Paddington Green, a little girl sang and danced her heart out to win the one and only scholarship to Sylvia Young Theatre School.

Well, now, Dominique Moore’s all grown up and playing the eldest daughter – and diva – Aretha, in My Almost Famous Family.

“Training at Syvia Young Theatre School was amazing,” she says.

“It was like a dream come true for me. Ever since I was little I always told my mum I would love to act and be on TV. I worked really hard, though, as I was the only one there on a scholarship and everyone else was paying to go. I felt I had to prove I deserved to be there.”

Did Dominique have any famous classmates?

“Loads. Vanessa from The Saturdays, Louisa Lytton, Tom from McFly, Amy Winehouse..,” she reveals. “But to me they’re just my school friends.”

What does Dominique think of her character, Aretha?

“She is one of the most ambitious teenagers you’ll ever meet,” she says. “Aretha’s decided she’s going to be a massive singer and performer, like a mini-Beyoncé. She’s a diva and nothing will get in her way.”

There is, however, one similarity between Dominique and Aretha. “Aretha’s very determined, which is very much like me – if I say I’m going to do something, I’ll do it,” reveals Dominique.

“When I was 18, I told my mum I was going to start my own business. So I went on loads of business courses, joined the Prince’s Trust, who helped me out loads, and started my own clothing line. Now I’ve got a website and celebrities wear my designs.”

What’s been Dominique’s favourite storyline?

“There’s so many. I did like the one where Aretha decides to do the advert without telling her family,” she explains. “I’m really interested to see how it comes out as I’m literally dressed as a Dalmatian in a nappy. It was very embarrassing!”

Naomi Battrick plays musical genius and obsessive-compulsive Toyah.

“This is my first big television part,” reveals Naomi Battrick, 18.

“It was ridiculous how talented she is – she’s a Grade A in absolutely everything. I actually can’t play any instruments. I used to play the piano and recorder when I was little but when I became a teenager I thought it was uncool so stopped!”

So what does Naomi think of Toyah?

“She’s a 15-year-old with OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder], a perfectionist and a musician. I think her OCD was probably because her mother died when she was very young and it’s her way of having control over that situation,” explains Naomi.

“She’s very controlled and quite geeky. She’s new to boys and she has no idea what to do when handling crushes.”

Is there anything of Naomi in Toyah?

“Well, I think everyone has a little OCD inside them. I related with that. Also her family life is quite weird – she’s from two different families which, in some ways, is what my life is like. My mum re-married and had two more children, so I was able to relate to that.”

Naomi had to totally transform herself by dyeing her blonde hair red for the part.

“When I got the part I went for a costume and wardrobe test and they told me they had a couple of ideas to dye my hair. They put an auburn wig on me and I quite liked it so we went for it,” reveals Naomi.

“I thought it looked good and it was quite nice to know that if I ever did want to dye my hair when I’m older, it won’t look like I’m wearing a wig. I got used to it after a month and everyone started saying to me, ‘Gosh, I couldn’t imagine you blonde!'”

What’s been Naomi’s favourite storyline?

“It has to be the food fight!” laughs Naomi.

“Gary and Sholondra go away and trust us, stupidly, to be alone at the house. Aretha flicks a pickle into Toyah’s face during an argument – she goes ballistic and we end up having a humungous food fight in the kitchen. It’s so funny.”

Newcomer Matt Morgan, 15, makes his on-screen debut as joker Isaac but he had to make a pretty big sacrifice in order to film the show.

“I was meant to be going on a skiing trip to California with school when filming was starting,” reveals Matt. “We’d started paying for it two years ago and all my friends were going, but when I found out I’d got the part we cancelled it. It was totally worth it though.”

So what exactly is Isaac like?

“Well he’s not slow but the world sort of goes on around him and he’s not really tuned in, to be honest,” he explains.

“He’s sort of like the ‘Joey from Friends’ of the programme, he eats quite a lot and he’s the one that’s a bit behind everyone else. I hope I’m not like him at all!”

Isaac’s the drummer in the band, so was Matt able to play the drums before the show?

“When I heard about the audition I got myself a book about learning to play the drums,” explains Matt, “and every day at lunchtime I’d go into the music room and practice. Then when I started filming I had a few proper lessons.”

Matt is still at school, so how did he find balancing filming and his schoolwork?

“I had three exams during filming – in maths and science, my least favourite subjects!” says Matt. “But I had a tutor so, whenever I wasn’t on set, I was off working. It wasn’t actually that bad. I was expecting it to be really hard but I just got down to the work.”

So what’s Matt’s favourite storyline in the show?

“I steal a pig in one of the episodes,” laughs Matt. “Annabelle says she’s going to kill it so Isaac decides to save it. Isaac and Hadley even do a song about the pig and how much they love it.

“I loved working with that pig!”

After appearing in M.I. High, Skins and Genie In The House, Angus Harrison, 17, powerslides onto our screens as singer Hadley Swann.

“Hadley would like to think that he is the bad boy of rock and that he’s the hardest celebrity there is, but in reality he’s so far from it,” explains Angus.

“He’s incredibly paranoid and is always checking himself in the mirror. His mum’s constantly looking after him and his dad tucks him into bed each night.

“He’s got far too much going on his head at once. He’s trying to keep up with this celebrity persona, when all he really wants to do is sit in his room and fold up his socks!”

It must have been challenging to play such a complicated, comedy character?

“He’s been great fun to play. He’s one of those teenagers that’s ridiculously complex,” reveals Angus.

“In terms of his panicking around girls, it was just a case of drawing on my own experience of embarrassing encounters around girls when I was younger. I’ve managed to relax a little bit now though!”

Viewers could soon see Angus heading up the charts himself one day.

“I’m in a band called New York Minute with my mates,” he says.

“We’re only just getting off of the ground – this is our summer of dipping our toes in the water, so we’re playing acoustic gigs in pubs. I’m not sure about being a pop star though!”

What has been Angus’s favourite moment from filming?

“If I’m being really slushy I’d say the cast and crew. I’ve never come out of a shoot with so many friends before,” reveals Angus.

“On most shoots there’s a lot of nice people but there will be the odd person you think is grumpy, but on this shoot we genuinely can’t name a single person we haven’t liked.”

What about his favourite musical number?

“I hate to be egotistical but it’s my rap,” laughs Angus.

“I’m six foot two, quite skinny and ginger, so I’m not the archetypal rapper. When I had to record it, I asked if they were sure about me rapping but they told me to go for it – so I literally went absolutely berserk! I think it’s pretty intense.”

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