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Running through Corridors: A Conversation with Shannon Flynn

Friday Download Presents Up All Night

UP ALL NIGHT sees the gang heading off for a holiday road trip together, which very quickly turns into a total nightmare, in more ways than one. Their van breaks down outside a creepy old mansion; there’s no phone signal and no alternative but to knock on the door and ask for help. Big mistake. Caleb and Clara, an oddly welcoming but sinister brother and sister who live there, are definitely hiding something. Turns out, what they’re hiding is that this creepy old mansion is haunted, and it’s about to be knocked down. The gang’s divided loyalties play havoc with their conscience – run away from their new oddball friends or pay back their kindness? They decide to do all they can to save the house with a special Friday Download music festival. Big mistake no 2. It seems the house has some secrets that suggest it would be best if it was knocked down after all…

Directed by JOHN HENDERSON (The Borrowers, Alice Through The Looking Glass), UP ALL NIGHT boasts a cast including the all-star presenters of hit CBBC show Friday Download: DIONNE BROMFIELD (Fast Girls), RICHARD WISKER (Dani’s Castle), SHANNON FLYNN (Dani’s Castle), GEORGE SEAR (Evermoor) and guest presenter BOBBY LOCKWOOD (Wolfblood); former Friday Download presenter TYGER DREW-HONEY (Cuckoo, Outnumbered); actress LOUISA CONNOLLY-BURNHAM (Wolfblood, House Of Anubis); and renowned comedians DAVID MITCHELL (Peep Show) and KEVIN ELDON (Hot Fuzz, Hugo). Cameo appearances include a special surprise appearance from British pop sensation and Radio 1 Teen Award’s ‘Best British Band’ THE VAMPS; Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent stars BARS AND MELODY; and BBC Radio 1’s Weekend Breakfast Show DJ DEV.

The Fan Carpet’s Katy Peakay had the pleasure of speaking to Shannon Flynn for the Home Entertainment release of Friday Download Presents Up All Night.

Shannon tells Katy about her favourite scene, working with the Friday Download gang and getting to grips with the script…




So in the film, you’re playing a character with your own name as it’s based on the presenting show Friday Download. Does that make it easier for you or harder to get into character?

I think, even though I’m supposed to be playing myself when I play Shannon, it’s an exaggerated version of myself.


The script seems quite intense, it’s quite like ‘drop- line- drop- line’ and there’s quite a few of you so it must have been quite hard to grasp.

Yeah, there was one scene where the van’s stuck in a tree and everybody’s just got loads of one-liners. When we first read through that scene we were all a bit like ‘oh god, I don’t know if we’re going to get through this’ because it was three or four pages long and I don’t want to be saying the same thing!


It’s getting that order, isn’t it? I know, I’m an actress myself and when I first saw that scene I thought ‘oh that’s complicated’, just getting the cues on point and not over-speaking each other.

Yeah, exactly. It’s one of my favourite scenes I think.

Yeah, it is a good scene. Actually, my favourite scene might be the one when you’re running through all them corridors in the bedroom-

Oh yeah!

-Because that’s freaky stuff. I was watching it and I thought ‘A child’s film?! Aah, I might have to turn off’! (laughs)

Yeah, I cannot tell you how many times I had to run back and forth.


I was going to ask, you must have some stamina, you must be quite fit because for me that would have been a killer.

I wasn’t, I’m definitely not! I mean, it was alright, it wasn’t too much running, I just did little shots.


Yeah, that was really weird though. That scene’s really effective and it does make it quite scary at that point but then watching it through it’s a happy ending but at that point I was like ‘that is really freaky stuff, like horror film stuff’.

Oh yeah, definitely. We’ve all got like our own little scary scene and we’ve all got our own little bit to do.


And the set, was it a set in a studio or was it a house? Well, I know the house is real in Swansea but did you actually use the inside of the house?

Well it was two different houses. There was Margam Castle, which was a lot of exterior scenes. The interior scene was all the staircases inside it.


Okay. Tyger [Drew-Honey]’s pretty freaky, isn’t he, as the character he plays, as one of the ghosts? I found him and the female co-star he’s with, they’ve got a really good ghost presence about them from when I met them. I thought they took really good character choices on those two people that definitely made a mark from the beginning of ‘something’s up’.

Oh yeah, definitely. I mean, Louisa [Connolly-Burnham] and Tyger are both so talented, it was cool to have them in it. Tyger plays a really good creep!


Also you’ve got David Mitchell who made an appearance as the policeman, that was pretty hilarious, barring you all from using the police’s number.

I absolutely loved doing that scene, because a lot of it was like banter back and forth between me and David, our characters in that scene so I absolutely loved that. When I found out David Mitchell was going to be in it I was absolutely over the moon, just being with him.


He’s got really good comic timing and facial expressions, I think he played that police officer really well.

Oh yeah, definitely, he was great.


The weird village policeman! So you said your character’s like an extension of yourself, is there anything that mirrors you in real like? Shannon in the film’s quite the group leader, she puts her foot down, she says what goes.

Yeah, I think probably, I don’t know if I get typecast as that kind of character to be honest, maybe it is just me in a nutshell but I would consider myself a leader. I mean I can definitely follow but I do like to have my own way of doing it, I’d like to think I’ve got quite a level head, and so does my character in the film. She’s quite strong-minded and she know what she wants, she won’t take no for an answer.


Awesome. So, going back to type characters, what would you consider your default setting as an actress? If you’re just picking something out and reading it off the cuff, whats your default setting as the character?

Probably what I play in the film. Quite strong-minded and level-headed and doesn’t really take any nonsense. So yeah, probably similar to the character in the film.




Do you find it’s the accent as well? You’ve got your northern accent, sometimes they do get the brasher, bolder characters in females.

Yeah definitely, I mean that plays a part in it. There’s only two girls in the film, well there’s three girls but out of our little gang there’s me and Dionne [Bromfield]. Dionne kind of gets the pretty one-

No, but you get to be the salt of the earth, the northerner!

-Yeah, but I’m proud that I’m northern, I absolutely love that, and I think my character is a bit more gritty in the sense that I got involved in more, I got a bit of the banter and got some funny lines.


Yeah, and even though she was the girly one, you were the one who was the love interest there for Tyger.

Yes, I think that’s why they did it because they made Dionne the one that was all girly, with the hair and makeup and I think so that I was still quite a girly character as well as chilling out with the lads, they gave me a love interest!


Other than David Mitchell, you worked with loads of the cast before for Friday Download and Denny’s Castle, so there is a really nice dynamic. It almost makes it more real, that the kids see you as the presenters, and then they see you there so it makes it seem really realistic that you’ve gone on this holiday. Was it nice to be away from autocues and do a bit more acting with the characters, maybe put meat on them a bit more, or do you prefer the presenting role?

Well I think well, when I’m presenting I basically am being me, I know that it is sometimes scripted with the presenting but that is just me giving out information as opposed to just acting so I think presenting is just me. With the acting, I’ve kind of got to do a slightly more exaggerated version of myself and it was tons of fun as we all got to play around with our characters. Even though we’re just playing ourselves, that’s not exactly us obviously, we’re all bit more boring in real life! Bobby [Lockwood]’s character for example, he plays the dopy one, and he’s got all the comedy lines where he doesn’t know whats going on-

Yeah with his dog bless him.

Superglued on.


Is there anyone that did actually get a bit scared on set?

Em, I’m trying to think you know, because obviously we did some night shoots where we were up until 6 in the morning. I don’t think there was ever anything spooky ghost-wise but the worse one was when there was some deer.

They were loose in the gardens when filming-

And you’d have to like shoo them off, ‘you’re not even scary, you can’t be extras, get out of here’.

Yeah, but have you ever heard any deer in the night?

No, I haven’t. I’m quite near Richmond Park so I’ve seen a fair few but I haven’t heard one.
Well they have such a weird call, almost like a moo but it’s really deep and we couldn’t see them. We had to have one of the location managers move them away, honestly it did freak us out in the middle of the morning and the middle of nowhere trying to do this scene where we were all scared. We were worried the deer were going to come in and start chasing us! (laughs)


Weird! So you’ve been acting for long time now, you made your screen debut in Shameless at 12, was that right?

No, when I was 11 actually I was on Waterloo Road and then I did Shameless and The Queen. I don’t know, there are a few pages that say different things but I was in Waterloo Road first, that’s kind of where I made my debut.


That’s amazing. How did that all start, how did that all come about? Were you a member of a drama school or club, did you have an agent as a young performer?

So when I was at school my teachers and my mum and dad used to notice that I was quite into acting and performing but I didn’t have a lot of confidence when I was younger so as a little confidence builder I used to go to a class on a Sunday. It was just to play games and meet people, and to build my confidence-

That’s nice.

-eh yeah, and basically the guy who ran the course was with an agent and he said to them ‘do you want to see her and have a meeting with her’, which they did. So they put me on the books and I’ve been with them since I was 11.


That’s amazing, and you’ve stuck with the same agents, that’s really good. Really good commitment there. I guess it’s really nice that you started earlier and it takes you out of that pond of sort of middle ground when you’re an aspiring actress and you say ‘ooh, I’ve got to earn money somehow as well’, it’s hard to swing commitments! I run a drama club and we’re doing this sort of thing in a school to build confidence at the moment, do sketches on bullying and things and getting them to interview people and correct wrong situations so it’s all like learning base. When I told them I was talking to you guys they all just couldn’t believe it so I’ll probably have to play your voice to them! If you could pick someone yourself who inspired you when you were, I know you started young, but even now or when you started out, who would it be? Who would the acting figure for you be?

Does it have to be somebody famous?

No, it doesn’t have to be someone famous.

Well, I think the person that kind of inspired me to perform was my granddad, I was always really close to my granddad and he used to teach me piano. He used to teach me to push myself, so probably my granddad. If I had to choose somebody who I look up to in the acting world, I absolutely adore Helena Bonham Carter. I think she’s amazing-

Really? Yeah, she is fantastic, she really gets right into a character, so believable.

-Yeah, exactly, I love her.

I love her, and maybe Meryl Streep as well, I think is fantastic.

Yeah, she’s an absolute queen, I think-

And Jennifer Saunders for the comedy. (pause)


So the ending of the film is left open, with Nathan’s character Darren talking to you about his lovely aunty’s place, and then it’s full moon and we see he has a little werewolf stare. Has that been left open for plans of a sequel?

I’m not entirely sure. It was mentioned that we could go again, but I don’t really know where we stand with that. I mean, I’d love to do a sequel, I had so much fun doing the first one but you never know, maybe.


Interesting. But for Friday Download, you’re not going back for the next series, is that right? Or is there something in the pipeline for you at the moment?

There’s already been a series on. Basically while we were filming the film, we were doing a series of Friday Download at the time and that was my last one then.

Aww, end of an era.

Yeah, exactly. It was fine really though because I thought, you know, having the film, I thought it was a nice-

Closure on it.

-on the whole Friday Download. It was great fun but at the minute I’m still doing presenting every Saturday and sometimes in the week, but yeah, fingers crossed something comes up!


Yeah it was a great platform for you and I’m sure something will do now you’ve got terrific credits and a great showreel out there.

Oh yes.


So what would you love to do if you could get the dream offer? Would it be to be in a soap now, or as an action girl or a villain? How would you like to progress as an actor and challenge yourself?

Believe it or not, my dream job has always been to be in a horror film. So doing Up All Night, obviously it’s a PG and it’s still aimed at families-

Well like I said, there’s some scary moments!

-so it was nice that I got a little taster of what an actual full blown horror would be like. I would absolutely love to do a horror film and I think I have the look with the dark hair so you never know, fingers crossed!




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