Lily Allen on the transition from music to drama and her “dysfunctional” family | Ents & Arts News

Before her first TV role aired, Lily Allen told Sky News why she went from music to drama and how her own ‘dysfunctional’ family helped shape her character.

In the new comedy Dreamland, she plays a woman who returns to her family in Margate, who soon finds she’s brought back more than she expected when she finds out she’s pregnant.

It’s not Allenbut it’s her first television role and the Brit Award-winning entertainer, who has lived much of her life in the public eye, says it gave her a way to express herself while she takes a break from the music.

Lily Allen at the Planned Parenthood Spring Benefit Gala in New York City in March

“I feel like one of the reasons I don’t really write music and release it or spend a lot of time on social media is that it seems very heavy right now and I feel a little too exposed and I feel a little sensitive in this environment,” she said.

“I don’t really want to open up about myself and my experiences, but I still want to talk about the human experience and dive a bit more into those experiences, try to make sense of the world, I guess?

“And I think drama or comedy-drama in this case allowed me to do that, it’s a different medium but it still does the same thing – we just tell stories.”

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Dreamland is about four sisters and explores the complexities of sibling relationships.

Although she grew up in a very different environment than her character – Allen is the daughter of comedian and actor Keith Allen – she says there was still a lot to tell.

“The kind of similarities and not the differences are obviously the things I honed in on and, you know, my family is pretty dysfunctional,” she laughed.

“So there were a lot of things to draw on for me.”

Freema Agyeman as Trish, Lily Allen as Mel, Sheila Reid as Nan, Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Leila, and Gabby Best as Clare in Dreamland.  Photo: Natalie Seery/Sky UK
Freema Agyeman as Trish, Lily Allen as Mel, Sheila Reid as Nan, Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Leila, and Gabby Best as Clare in Dreamland. Photo: Natalie Seery/Sky UK

Weaving serious issues with comedy, the show isn’t all fun in the sun – tackling themes of racism, homophobia and misogyny.

Former Dr Who star Freema Agyeman plays Allen’s half-sister – and the only one of the four who isn’t white.

She told Sky News she was impressed with the way the most serious matters were handled.

Freema Agyeman as Trish, Lily Allen as Mel in Dreamland.  Photo: Natalie Seery/Sky UK
Agyeman and Allen. Photo: Natalie Seery/Sky UK

“There’s a book, The Mixed Race Experienced by Natalie and Naomi Evans, which writes about what it was like to be mixed race growing up in Margate in particular,” Agyeman said.

“So it was very pushed and then, of course, I can relate to so many things, but I also have my own experiences that (the showmakers) were very open to sharing.

“I love when it’s done with thought and care and collaboration, and I felt like that was happening here… You can’t go into everything, but you can have discussions, or raise issues and talk about themes and hope that people will go away and think about it.”

Dreamland will air on Sky Atlantic and the NOW streaming service from April 6.

Sky news

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