Coronation Street star Kym Marsh talks to TV Times magazine about travelling the country to meet young mothers for her Channel 5 (opens in new tab) documentary Kym Marsh: Teen Mums And Me (Wednesday, Jan 11)... You had your first child, David, when you were just 18. Was it tough? “It’s not easy at all. At 18, you should be doing other things, not changing nappies and worrying about how you’re going to afford a pram.” What did you discover when you were filming this documentary? “I found out that nothing had really changed since I had David. They don’t really receive any more help than I got in terms of benefits and there is still a lot of discrimination against young mums. People look at them and think they are no good because they got pregnant and it is obviously to get a council house. There might be some girls like that, but a lot of teenagers find themselves in this situation and are just trying to do right by their baby. Babies are really expensive and they don’t give you a lot of money.” Was it tough financially being 18 and having a young baby? “By the time I paid my bills and did the shopping, I was left with about a fiver a week. It was grim. Sometimes the money in the electricity meter would run out and we would be sitting in the dark. My son was obsessed with Thomas The Tank Engine, but I didn’t ever have enough money to buy him one.” Even though you had first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a teenage mum, did you still find filming the documentary surprising? “Yes. It’s shocking when you see a 15-year-old open the door and she is the mother of an 18-month-old baby. Levi, who lives in Crewe, looked younger than my own daughter Emily, who is 14. It was disturbing when she told me that she drops off her baby when she’s on the way to school. She is still a child, yet she has stepped up to the mark and she is taking responsibility for her baby. She is determined to make a better life for her and her little boy. It’s a shame because she’s missing out on so much, she should be doing what other 15-year-olds are doing.” Did you feel like you were missing out when you were 18? “It wasn’t really an issue for me as I wasn’t really into clubbing and the kind of stuff your average 18-year-old is into. Also, I was in a different place because from the ages of 15 to 18 I was trying to be a singer, so I had spent quite a lot of time in London and had experienced a lot. But you know, I wouldn’t want my daughter to get pregnant at 18. I wouldn’t say, 'Hey everyone, go and have a baby at 18, it’s great' because life’s not like that."
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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