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'Waterloo Road': Brogan Ellis talks Kacey transgender plot

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Waterloo Road's Kacey Barry

© BBC / Shed Productions (WR)

Waterloo Road's Kacey Barry



Waterloo Road airs a huge episode for Kacey Barry this week as she is finally honest about her gender identity issues.

Disguising herself as a boy to take part in a school football match, Kacey feels more free and comfortable than ever before - which leads her to a life-changing decision.

Amid a huge row with her brother Barry (Carl Au), Kacey angrily declares that inside she's a boy. But will the Barry clan be able to accept this?

Digital Spy recently caught up with Brogan Ellis, who plays Kacey, to hear more about the storyline.

How have you found your time on Waterloo Road so far?
"I've really enjoyed it. It's my first job, so it's all alien to me, but it's a really great experience. I only fell into acting a year ago with an acting college, so it's very interesting for me to see the professional world.

"It's also fantastic to meet all of these people who I've watched on TV since I was a kid. I always used to watch EastEnders, so Zöe Lucker playing my mum is insane. It's a dream come true, it really is."

How have viewers been reacting to Kacey?
"I think up until now, she's always been in the background. You've seen what Dynasty, Barry and Carol can all do, so people are still waiting to see who this person in the background is.

"I think a lot of viewers are questioning who Kacey is and waiting for her storyline to begin, so I think this week's episode is going to be interesting for everyone to watch. They've been waiting for this, so I'm excited for people to see it now."

You've had to change your appearance quite drastically to play Kacey. Has that been a challenge?
"Because Waterloo Road is my first job and I hadn't really had any experience, it was so hard. I struggled with it so much at first. I think Kacey's short haircut was the biggest issue for me. I absolutely loved my long hair, and to me that was my best quality. To have that taken away from me was a bit like a smack in the face!

"I'm settling into it now, but it has taken a good few episodes and a good few months to get used to it and settle into the character. Now I think I'd rather play this character than your typical teenage girl who's obsessed with make-up and clothes. Playing Kacey is so interesting, so it's been really fun."

Waterloo Road's Kacey Barry

© BBC / Shed Productions (WR)

Kacey playing football.



How do you feel about taking on a transgender storyline?
"When they first told me about it, I burst into tears! I just thought, 'Oh my God'. I knew what transgender was, but I didn't feel I knew enough to play it. As soon as I got home, I was straight onto Google to do some research. It's been difficult, but I had a meeting with a transgender which was really interesting and informative. It's really fun to let go and play something very different to myself."

Were you told the nature of the storyline in the audition, or once you already had the part?
"In the audition, my brief said that Kacey was a boy stuck in a girl's body, but I misread it and thought that was just referring to her being a tomboy! I got the part, filmed two or three episodes, and then they pulled me in to discuss my episode and the transgender storyline.

"I was really taken aback by it. I was away from home and it was a lot to take in. But I'm really glad to have this opportunity now - it's really good fun."

Have the viewers always suspected that Kacey is a transgender character?
"Well, I've had a lot of people asking, 'Is Kacey transgender or just a really extreme tomboy?' Some people have said it's pretty obvious, but for some people it's been open to debate. I think it could have gone either way, but we went down the transgender route."

Waterloo Road's Kacey Barry

© BBC / Shed Productions (WR)

Kacey playing football.



What can you tell us about this week's episode?
"Kacey is playing football for the school, but as she's just been told that it's against the rules for her to take part because she's a girl, she has to pretend to be a boy and fool the other team. But she actually feels more comfortable when she's acting like a boy - it feels right. She also has a new friend called Zoe there, who really accepts her and helps to bring out who Kacey really is.

"Kacey goes on to tell Barry that she's a boy, but he struggles to accept it. They argue and it gets really heated and loud, so soon everyone finds out Kacey's secret. She didn't mean for that to happen. I don't think she meant to tell anyone, but it all comes out."

Will Kacey face a tough time when her schoolmates know the truth?
"I think because Barry pulls away from Kacey, people do act differently around her. It's not necessarily bullying, but people do act a bit funny with her.

"Some other people are supporting Kacey because they're glad she's admitting who she really is, so it's mixed reactions in the school. Barry is the one who really turns away from her, as he just flips out and goes mental. He doesn't want the Barrys to become an embarrassment."

How does the storyline progress in the longer term?
"There's a few episodes which focus on how far Kacey is going to take this - is she going to wait until she's older to really think this through, or will she go ahead and move forward while she's still quite young?

"Kacey thinks she's going to be fully transgender, which means changing her name and living as a boy. She does that for a few episodes, but then she thinks maybe she should wait until she's older, really think this through and consider what she really wants.

"Changing your name, having a sex change and changing your identity is a big thing. She goes on a route to do that and a lot of things happen, but it's a bit too much and she decides to wait for a little bit."

Waterloo Road's Barry family

© BBC / Shed Productions (WR)

Waterloo Road's Barry family



What kind of impact do you want the storyline to have?
"I've already had a lot of people tweeting me to say that I'm an inspiration to them because of how I look, and that's when my storyline hasn't even come out yet! That's amazing.

"I just think that it doesn't matter what gender you are. These days, it's hard for kids to be different, but it doesn't have to be. To be popular, you don't need to be gorgeous, just be who you are. It's okay to be different."

Do the Barry clan get along well in real life?
"Oh yeah, all of us are really close. As cheesy as it sounds, we're all like a happy family. It's just a lovely group of people in general at Waterloo Road, and that's really helped. They're all so supportive and it's great to have them around."

> Read more Waterloo Road spoilers and news

Waterloo Road airs on Thursdays at 8pm on BBC One.

Digital Spy Soap Scoop video - watch Amie Parker-Williams reveal the biggest storylines on the way in EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks next week.

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