3 July 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network
McKenna Returns to ‘Raw’
16 Apr 2009 : By Roisin Cronin
Charlene McKenna in Raw
The second series of the restaurant based drama ‘Raw’, produced by Octagon Films and Ecosse Films, is currently filming in and around Dublin and Wicklow. Actress Charlene McKenna, who won an IFTA for her role in the first series, chats to IFTN on what’s in store for her character Jojo Harte.

Series two of ‘Raw’ will continue to explore the heated and personal relationships that emerge between staff at a thriving Dublin restaurant. Actors Charlene McKenna (Pure Mule), Liam Garrigan (Holby City), Keith McErlean (Bachelor’s Walk) and Damon Gameau (Razzle Dazzle) are all returning to the series with new cast to include ‘The Clinic’ actress, Aisling O’Sullivan. Directors for the second series are David Caffrey (Divorcing Jack), Nick Renton (Little White Lie) and Simon Massey (Skins).

Speaking to IFTN between scenes while filming on Camden Street this week, lead actress Charlene McKenna explains; “We’re shooting until the middle of June. It’s great to be back with the cast and crew and some new people, so it’s all very exciting and fun.”

Charlene plays the hot headed commis chef Jojo Harte who in the last series had to figure out her feelings for her best friend Bobby (Garrigan) and her jealousy of his relationship with student waitress Rebecca (Dominique McElligot). Talking about Jojo in this series Charlene says; “She’s the same but she goes on a quiet journey. She grows and gets some life lessons. There is a storyline that we are dealing with at the minute which I can completely relate to. I think I can relate to her much more now this year than last year as she was a hell of a lot wilder than I am.”

Charlene at the IFTAs

Having recently picked up the IFTA for Best Lead Actress in Television for ‘Raw’ Charlene says; ‘It was great to get the two nominations and to then take home the metal as they say! So I’m delighted with it.”

Speaking on second nomination for her role in last year’s drama ‘Whistleblower’ based on the women at the centre of the findings of the Lourdes Hospital Enquiry, Charlene described the role as “very daunting” given all the attention that the drama attracted. Describing how she prepared herself for the role, Charlene says; “I would always be a perfectionist anyway in everything I do, so I would put a lot of pressure on myself but certainly with something like ‘Whistleblower’ I was so aware that this isn’t just television and that it’s not just a show. It’s very real life stuff and it affected a lot of people - for both the people in real life and also it was a very heavy storyline for other people to watch and relate to. You are reaching out to a lot of people that way and you want to do it to the best of your ability as not to do them an injustice.”

In terms of future roles Charlene has some interesting projects coming up; “After ‘Raw’ last year, I did a film called ‘A Boy Called Dad’ directed by Brian Percival and I played someone who really suffered. That was really interesting, so more roles like that are coming through now so we will see.” 

  • ‘Raw’ is produced by Matt Strevens with executive producer are Suzanne McAuley and Michael Parke with funding from RTÉ. Shooting will take place until 12th June with post to take place in Screenscene. DOP is Donal Gilligan, Production Designer is Stephen Daly and costume design by Leonie Prendergast.


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