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Interview: EastEnders legends Letitia Dean and Adam Woodyatt on the show’s return

It’s back! Following it’s first ever break during its 35 year history, EastEnders returns with a bang.

Fans will finally get to see the repercussions of Ian and Sharon buying the Queen Vic under Phil’s nose but of course, Dotty is holding a BIG secret which could blow everything apart.

EastEnders icons Adam Woodyatt and Letitia Dean tell us more about the shows return and what’s in store for Sharon and Ian…

How does it feel to return to set after lockdown?
L: It was so nice to see everyone after such a long time. I truly missed everyone. I didn’t realise how much I actually missed working until we were all back there together, it was wonderful. And the storylines we are all working on are incredible so there was a really great energy. I just wish I could give everyone a hug!

A: It feels great to be back, given the circumstances it was inevitable that the show would have to take break but it has been great to be back. It’s obviously very different in how we film these days but so much effort has gone into getting the show up and running again, yet still looking like EastEnders, it’s a real achievement for everyone involved.

How has filming been with all the new restrictions?
L: I was quite nervous at first but team have done an amazing job and made it as easy as possible
whilst also making it incredibly safe. It’s obviously very different now with how we film with social distancing measures in place but everyone is going to great lengths to ensure that it is still the EastEnders everyone knows and loves. It’s been challenging but I think everyone has done a great job.

A: It’s been good – different but good. We’re all adapting as quickly as possible and I think it’s going to look great on screen, hopefully seamless! The production team have been fantastic at adapting filming techniques, grouping us together and being creative with scenes and camera angles to make it look realistic as well as most importantly, keeping us all safe. Of course it’s meant that things take longer and filming can be more challenging but it’s definitely been worth it.

Ending on Ian and Sharon’s reveal as the new landlords of The Vic must have felt pretty special…
L: Yes absolutely – what an ending. When we filmed that scene we obviously didn’t know we were going to be coming off air so it was a very fitting cliff hanger! The Queen Vic means so much to Sharon, she grew up in that pub. And after the year she had loosing Denny and everything that happened with the baby, this was exactly what she needed. Even though not all the memories are positive at The Vic, it’s where she belongs, and now more than ever she needs to be at home. And Ian and Sharon go way back too I think she’s feeling pretty positive about the future. And of course she gone one over on Phil too (laughs).

A: Obviously when we filmed that we never knew that EastEnders would be taking a break so to leave it on that cliff-hanger made it a real moment. Sharon is always going to be at home behind the bar and it seems there is nothing Ian won’t do to keep Sharon happy, he just has the little issue of not admitting what really happened on the night Denny died.

Lockdown would have happened soon after Sharon and Ian took over The Vic…
L: I know, terrible timing for them. But to look at the silver lining, it was probably good moment for Sharon to have a breather, some time for herself to bond with her son and just take a step back from all the drama.

A: I think Ian would have enjoyed being in this little bubble, being able to help Sharon with the baby and keeps tabs on his family across the road too, especially after such a tumultuous few months of heartbreak and tragedy across the square. Ian would enjoy a little bit of domestication and being forced into a routine and of course snatching The Vic from under Phil’s nose in the first place would be a plus for him too.

How does Sharon feel when she sees The Queen Vic bust back after it was recovered from the
River Thames?

L: It’s very hard for Sharon, she is immediately reminded of the boat crash and Denny’s death. She’s been happier recently but this takes her right back to the pain that is sitting just under the surface. Sharon is still so fragile so something like this is bound to set her off. She asks Ian if anything of Denny’s was returned hoping for some kind of closure. I think this moment shows that despite how together Sharon may seem, she is still hurting deeply, it’s going to take a very long time for her to really be okay.

How do you think Sharon would feel if she found out Ian had something to do with Dennis’ death?
L: I don’t think she would even believe it unless she had hard evidence. Ian is a very dear friend and she rusts him. For someone that close to her to lie to her about something so big would absolutely break her heart. I don’t know if their friendship could recover.

Ian hasn’t been honest throughout all this – with him living with Sharon for the past few months, is it eating him up inside?

A: Absolutely – it’s a constant battle with Ian, feeling the awful guilt and the trauma that comes with that too and he’ll feel it even more because of what he went through with Lucy. Buying the pub is a pretty big move on his part but material things won’t help ease the guilt as perhaps he originally thought, their friendship is going to tested in a few different ways.

What else is coming up for Sharon?
L: Sharon is trying to enjoy her life as much as she can, and of course she is now head over heels for her baby. Ian has been looking after her and the baby so well, so she’s really appreciative. She’s been zooming a lot with Linda and Denise over lockdown. She’s enjoying her bubble and but this is EastEnders so I am sure there is drama just around the corner…

What else is coming up for Ian?

A: Well without giving too much away, there is plenty coming up for Ian. From Dotty knowing his secret to now having to run the pub on top of the restaurant and the rest of his family and how they’ve all dealt with lockdown, it’s certainly not going to be quiet for Ian.

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 8.05pm and streams on BBC iPlayer.