By Humphrey Carter “I'm living a dream and I want it to last,” the new star of the top soap opera Hollyoaks, Jemma Keys said yesterday.
Jemma, in Majorca for a few days in the sunshine, is no stranger to the world of television, her father is the Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys, but that is about as far as their career relation gets. She does admit she has grown up with an interest in football, but while Richard supports Coventry, she supports Arsenal and, aged just 19, is proving to be just as much a winner as her beloved Gunners are.

Jemma, who always wanted to be an actress, “she's always been one” interrupts her father, is still in her second year at the Italia Conte drama school in London, but has been cast as a rather tough Essex girl called Stacey in Hollyoaks. Next month she embarks on a four month contract with the series.

She has already starred in three episodes earlier this month “last time people would have seen me, I gave my on-screen boyfriend a good slap,” she said. “So it will be interesting to see what happens next for Stacey.” “I've still got another year of acting school to complete, but it's great to be working and studying,” she said. “It's hard work, we're on set from 7am to 7pm, plus travelling back and forth to Liverpool is time consuming, but I wouldn't give it up for the world. None of the cast would because we all know there are thousands of other boys and girls queuing up to take our parts. “All the cast give the series 110 percent, we have to, to safeguard our parts,” she says.
However, Jemma says that the cast are a great bunch of people “that's the success of Hollyoaks, they're good looking guys and attractive girls, it appeals to the teenage market, that's its secret to success, as simple as that. Every teenager can relate to it and it's on at 6.30, just when you get home and before you go out. “I'd love to land a full time part,” she added.
Jemma Keys has also been given a warm welcome in Liverpool.
Her mother is from Liverpool and, after having his stag night in the city, Richard works on radio there, but the truth is that no one made the connection with who her father was until the first day of filming. “I'd done all the auditions and no one even asked about my parents,” she said. “I was bullied at school, which had 1'500 pupils, because of who I was, but I'm no daddy's girl, I've got where I am on my own and that makes it all the more satisfying. “Obviously, growing up, I used to go with dad to the studio and the sets when he was presenting the football or filming Dream Team etc, and pick up the jargon and the terminology. That has helped a lot, getting an inside view of how the programmes are made, but, at the end of the day, if you're not good enough, you're out and the competition for parts in the soaps is massive.” Her Hollyoaks commitments have forced Jemma to turn down a role in a British film to be filmed overseas next month, just when she resumes filming in Liverpool.

However, she is determined to work in film one day. “I'd love a role like Cher, played by Alicia Silverstone in Clueless,” she said. “You just stick with Hollyoaks for the time being. One step at a time,” adds her father.
Stacey will be back on your screens in June.

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