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Charlene to swap waiting tables on RTE's Raw for getting wasted on Skins

FROM waiting tables to getting wasted, actress Charlene McKenna will be saying goodbye to her character Jo Jo from Raw to play a debauched housemate in Channel 4's new series of Skins.

"Believe it or not, I'm just about to start on Skins," the 27-year-old sid. "It's coming back for three episodes and I play a debauched housemate and a friend of Cassie's, which is going to be a lot of fun."

The controversial Channel 4 series, which featured lots of partying and pill-popping, was considered groundbreaking when it first aired in 2007. Earlier this year, TV execs decided to axe the show but now it seems they're bringing it back for a three-part special and Monaghan native Charlene will have a central role in one of the episodes.

While Charlene loved the Skins scripts, she wasn't a big fan of the series when it initially aired.

"I didn't watch Skins when I was younger," she admitted. "I always seemed to miss it. But I remember hearing so much about it. I'll watch them all before we start shooting."

Charlene also revealed that the upcoming series of RTE's drama Raw will be her last.

"I love working on Raw, but I've done five seasons and I think that's a nice number to end on," she said. "It's been great but I just want to do new things and explore new characters."

Charlene recently finished filming on BBC drama Ripper Street. The gruesome series tells the story of serial killer Jack The Ripper. Charlene plays the part of Rose; a prostitute who dreams of making it big as a theatre actress.


"I play a prostitute who wants to be an actress," she said. "She's quite a humourous part. She doesn't have your typical Victorian way of thinking. It's nice having that dark comedy because she gets embroiled in a lot of really, really heavy stuff. But Rose is a bit like a cat, she has nine lives and, thankfully, escapes all the murders."

Charlene enjoyed working on the series but says she'll be glad to take a break from the corset.

"I grew very, very tired of the corsets," she admitted. "It was a five- month shoot so the novelty wore off pretty quickly. At first you think, 'look at the size of my waist' and 'look at the size of my bum'. I thought it was amazing but by the end of the shoot you're glad to see the back of it," she laughed.

The petite actress says she was surprised and relieved when she heard that the series would be shot in Dublin.

"When I found out that they were going to film it all in Dublin, I was like 'ah for God's sake!' I moved from Dublin to the East End of London to get more work and next thing you know I'm playing an Eastender back in Dublin."