Best known for her role as Jody Jackson in CBBC show The Dumping Ground, seventeen-year-old Kia Pegg has been acting from a very young age. Before landing the role in Tracy Beaker Returns, Kia had already had experience in acting including the role of Vicious Vicky in Horrid Henry: The Movie. On a break from filming The Dumping Ground, we caught up with Kia about her character Jody, growing up on TV and recently winning an award.
You’ve been playing Jody Jackson in The Dumping Ground since it started in 2013, what has it been like growing up on the set of a popular TV show?
Growing up on set was equally a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. We have great fun when we are working, the cast and crew are all extremely close while we film, however, I think sometimes it’s understated how hard everyone works! Especially the little ones! It was an amazing experience I wouldn’t exchange for the world though!
What do you enjoy most about playing Jody?
My favourite thing about Jody is she’s so interesting – also, she’s just the right balance between a ‘good character’ and a ‘bad character’. She often makes the wrong decisions and loses her temper, however, at heart Jody has a strong sense of justice and cares about the other kids deeply. This makes her a lot of fun and never boring!
Do you have any similarities to her?
I think when I was younger, me and Jody were a lot more similar but that’s changed the longer I’ve played her. She’s a lot more frustrated than me, then again, she has a lot more that doesn’t go her way in life. She is also a lot braver than I think I am, she’s been through a lot over the course of the show!
You first played Jody in the last series of Tracy Beaker Returns, how different was it filming Tracy Beaker to The Dumping Ground?
It was no different for me at all really!
What has been the most memorable scene you’ve filmed so far?
Unfortunately, all of the most memorable scenes that I’ve filmed are in episodes that haven’t aired! However, the first scene I ever filmed will stick in my mind – this was the scene where Jody has to get into the jelly bath with Tracy. Another memorable one was the ‘farce scene’ with Annabelle Davis hiding in the cupboard with the parcel! We had too much fun that day!
You celebrated your birthday on set, what was this like?
My birthday on set is the best!!! I actually love it so much, Ruben (Reuter) is only one day older than me so we get to celebrate together which is my favourite thing ever because Ruben and I are best friends in real life. For his birthday I put posters everywhere and made decorations, Ruben took a camera round the whole cast and crew and created me a special birthday video then we all went bowling together. I honestly love it so much!
Are any of the cast members pranksters?
No one is particularly a prankster on set but everyone is absolutely hilarious! Me, Annabelle, Connor Lawson and Ruben had lunch together every day – we had Lunchtime Club and that was so, so funny! Me and Annabelle often went on photoshoots where we explored the building which was a lot of fun.
Many of the original cast members have left, are you still in contact with them?
I’m still in touch with most of the old cast, though we don’t talk regularly. We always check in with each other now and again though – we are like the best sort of friends – we might not talk to each other constantly, but when we see each other again you would never believe we have had time apart!
How was the recent wrap party?
The wrap party was perfect! We had a wicked time and it was the most lovely way to congratulate everyone on (what I personally think is) the best season yet!
What are you up to now this series of The Dumping Ground has finished filming?
I’m trying desperately to catch up with all the work that I missed at college! I’m a member of The Television Workshop which is brilliant – I’ve missed it loads and every session reminds me of why. I think when I’m not at Workshop I relax too much, lose a little confidence in myself – Workshop always brings that back! I’m spending time with my horses, friends and family.
You recently won the Best Young Actor award for The Quiet One at Birmingham Film Festival, what can you tell us about the production?
That production was an independent feature that I had a small role in when I was around twelve. It’s a pretty cool film though that’s doing pretty well in film festivals at the minute.
In 2011, you played Vicious Vicky in Horrid Henry: The Movie, how much fun was it on set?
Horrid Henry was a while back but I can remember that it was a lot of fun – even if I did end up losing my voice from growling!
Would you like to do more film roles?
Yeah, for sure!
How was the experience performing in pantomime last year and are you doing one this year?
Panto was fun but I’m not doing it again. I’ve been working all summer and I just want some time at home, plus I’m having to work really hard at college. However, I am involved with a play The Television Workshop are doing next year!
Your time on The Dumping Ground will have to come to an end at some point, do you plan to continue acting and how do you want Jody to leave?
I plan to continue acting for sure, it’s what I love more than anything! But I’m training to be a teacher too, everyone should have a back up plan. I’m not fussed how Jody goes as long as she’s not alone – I would like her to go with someone. I hate to imagine her alone in the world!
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