Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarronBBC
EastEnders spoilers follow.
EastEnders newcomer Jonny Freeman has spoken out about his character’s romance with Sonia Fowler.
Jonny has joined the cast as Dot’s great-nephew Reiss Colwell, who arrives in Albert Square next week.
Reiss arrives in Walford to pay his last respects to Dot at her funeral, and is soon striking up a bond with Sonia.
Speaking to Digital Spy and other media at a recent EastEnders press event, Jonny said: “He’s introduced to the Square, there’s a spark with Sonia. I wouldn’t say he’s a human dynamo but he’s got a good heart.
“What’s to come is to see whether he can navigate his way through social interactions to come out a winner or all alone.”
Explaining how the role came about, Jonny added: “It comes about like it always does – you get an audition and you see how it goes. Some you win, some you lose. On this occasion it worked out.
“As for the first day, it’s not filmed in sequence. I found myself in the Square, standing over a car, with the Queen Vic behind and Sonia from EastEnders. So I’ve got to be honest, it was pretty surreal.
“I mean that’s pretty much the weirdest introduction to any job anyone can ever have: ‘I’m actually in EastEnders here – there’s Sonia, there’s the pub!'”
Reflecting on his first day on set, Jonny said: “The truth is, it’s actually a bit of luck. Because whatever job you do, the first day is tricky, unless you’re not very nice. People are doing their job, you’re moving into it, you hope it goes well and you hope everyone’s nice.
“Certainly one of the great things about EastEnders in general is that there’s a quick output of quality stuff. Behind all that, every department, cast, crew, [executive producer] Chris [Clenshaw], everyone, directors, they care about the show.
“People might not feel there’s time to do that, but everyone is so passionate, you feel this vibe every moment you’re there. It’s a privilege. And to join at this sort of time is all the more lucky because it was a time when the cast certainly were reflecting on June [Brown] and their position in the show.
“I was getting fast-tracked into people’s experience in a way that may have normally taken a lot longer, because people were reminiscing and of course it was shot on location. There were a lot of actors there for a few days shooting, so I was very lucky. “
EastEnders bosses have already revealed that three of June Brown’s real-life children will play a role in Dot Branning’s funeral episode next week. June passed away in April this year at the age of 95.
“We already knew that three of June’s kids were going to be there,” Jonny explained. “Richard [the director] came up to me and said: ‘Do you mind if they come and sit with you?’ I had this extraordinary experience of not only being fast-tracked and meeting the cast, but sitting with three of June’s kids.
“They were delightful and it’s a credit to the show not only that they were considered to be a part of it, but also that they would come. I hadn’t really filmed a lot of my scenes then, but I thought: ‘If I was just a bloke at Dot Branning’s funeral, if that’s all I did, that’s a pretty good couple of days out, isn’t it?'”
EastEnders airs on Mondays-Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.
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