All eyes were on Janine over the festive dinner table as Scarlett revealed the truth – Janine crashed Linda’s car and framed her for the crime! The day was full of thrills from then on with Janine fleeing Walford, Linda and Mick finally reuniting before giving chase; and of course, the literal cliff hanger where Mick met his tragic fate.
We chat to Danny Dyer and Kellie Bright, aka Mick and Linda, who tell us how they feel about the Christmas Day episode, plus the end of their nine-year screen partnership…
Hello, Danny and Kellie! How do you feel now the Christmas Day episode has aired?
Danny: Very emotional. I’m very attached to this show, it’s been a third of my career. And to make the decision I did – I didn’t make it lightly because it’s a huge job to walk away from. I wanted it to be a fitting end, so hopefully it is.
Kellie: The episode as a whole is brilliant – I think it’s a really good Christmas episode. There were lots of big moments within it, like the Janine reveal. But the scene I was holding out for was the one between Mick and Linda. I’d have loved for that to be ten times as long!
It was a beautiful moment, and only fitting they got back together…
Kellie: However brief! There was a lot of real emotion tied up in the filming of that episode for me, and I’m so proud to be a part of it. It feels very special because we came in at Christmas, so it’s gone full circle for us.
Danny: This episode is all about love and relationships – you’ve got Lola and Jay, also Alfie, Phil and Kat. We’ve done a lot of Christmas episode over the years, and it’s an intense process. But when you get the right material, it’s a beautiful thing. Everyone wants to sit down and watch EastEnders at Christmas.
Let’s talk about the stunts, because they were fantastic!
Danny: We went to Ramsgate for the night shoots, and it was quite pleasant, the weather. We had wetsuits on under our clothes and had scenes in the water tank, which was filled with broccoli juice! My last scene, I was very tearful and stank of broccoli, which softened the blow.
Danny, when you joined, did you think nine years on that you’d be saying goodbye to Mick?
Danny: No, I didn’t think I’d last nine years on the show! But Dominic Treadwell-Collins [Executive Producer of EastEnders at the time] took a chance on me and Kellie – though she was more well-behaved than me. We came in together, as the new family to take over The Vic, and we loved it.
Kellie: And each other! That’s what made it special – myself, Danny, Maddy [Hill, aka Nancy] and Sam [Strike, who played Johnny] were all very close.
Danny: The Carters had their era and I’m so proud of it. I really did appreciate those years, but all good things come to an end.
Kellie, when you first met Danny, did you think he was going to be your on-screen husband?
Kellie: No, because I actually screen tested with someone else, and it wasn’t very good! I got a call later to say they were looking at other Micks. But then they offered me the job and we didn’t meet until our first photoshoot.
Danny: I turned up in the back of my motor with a blanket over my head!
Kellie: And that was the first time we met! Then the first time we put Mick and Linda together was in filming.
Do you have any memorable funny moments together?
Danny: There was one moment during the wedding stuff with Maddy…
Kellie: I can’t believe this! Right, when I came into the show, Linda’s story was she’s an ex-page-three girl. So I adopted a little extra bosom for Linda and put what I call chicken fillets in my bra. In the scene, we were absconding from a wedding with Maddy, running down the street and one of the fillets fell out and onto the floor, I was in hysterical laughter!
Danny: It was really funny, and we were so bonded by that point, we relied on each other intensely.
Kellie: It’s a life shared! Danny was at my wedding, he’s gone through IVF with me – there’s stuff we’ve shared that makes saying goodbye very hard. I cried from July until November when he went.
What was your leaving do like, Danny?
Danny: Well, I ended up questioning if I made the right decision. There was a lot of love for me in the room and part of me wanted to duck out. It was very emotional, and I thought it’d be easier to leave out the back door, but Kellie wouldn’t let me.
Kellie: I did a little speech.
Danny: There were a lot of tears.
Kellie: We were both crying, and we put a video together of his best bits. I think that’s what pushed us over the edge, watching our journey back. We looked so young!
Danny: That’s the thing about being on a soap, you see yourself age.
And lastly, did you take anything from the set?
Kellie: He did take something, I know what it is…
Danny: I took a bar stool out of The Vic, I can declare that now!
- Inside Soap will be back on Tuesday January 3, and we’ll be looking ahead to what life might hold for Linda without her beloved Mick…
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