EastEnders star Gary Hailes was “terrified” over Barry Clark return

EastEnders spoilers follow.

EastEnders star Gary Hailes has admitted he was “terrified” about reprising his role as Barry Clark.

A handful of familiar faces will head back to Walford next week as the local community gathers to pay its respects to Dot following her sad death.

In October, EastEnders announced that Dot’s old friends Barry Clark, Colin Russell, Mary Smith, Lofty Holloway, Disa O’Brien will return for the event.

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Barry originally left the show in 1988, but returned for one episode the following year.

Speaking to Digital Spy and other media about reprising his role after 33 years, Gary said: “When I first got the phone call, I was terrified.

“I hadn’t been in it for 33 years. To come back, it was a bit freaky. I had to settle down and it was brilliant. Everyone was so nice, so supportive. It was such an honour to be part of such a special episode, it really, really was.”

colin, sharon watts, zack hudson,eastenders


“I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like Dot, or June, or both. She’s so special and to be part of that was an honour, to be honest, and then to work with Michael was like putting on a pair of old shoes – really comfortable. We just clicked. It was brilliant.

“It was interesting [being on the new set]. The first shot where I was looking at where I used to live, I really was thinking: ‘Yeah, that used to be such an important part of my life’. It was surreal. Surreal is the word for that. It really was surreal.”

Reflecting on his memories of June Brown – who passed away earlier in the year – Gary said: “Everyone always reminds me of the scene in the launderette where Dot discovers that we’re gay. But I remember a lot of the funny scenes that we did together. There were a lot of scenes that June did in the early days that were really funny.

june brown in eastenders as dot cotton


Related: EastEnders‘ Dot Branning to get special ending theme in funeral episode

“I remember Barry and Dot doing a boot sale or something on the Square and she had a china pot and I didn’t know what it was and she said that it was a gazunder. I had no idea what a gazunder was so she explained that it goes under the bed. Things like that, I loved.

“She was such a lovely person to work with. I remember being in the green room and she was so full of energy. You’d have a conversation with June and then if she got called in for a scene or to rehearse, she would leave the room – still in the midst of that conversation.

“As the door would close, the conversation would stop and 20 minutes later she’d come back in and she would continue from where she left off, literally to the word. It was stunning. She was such a special person.”

EastEnders airs on Mondays-Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.

Read more EastEnders spoilers on our dedicated homepage.

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