Ex EastEnders star Charlie Clements who played Max Branning’s doomed son, Bradley, is back on our telly screens in Alibi’s period police drama, Murdoch Mysteries. He plays copper Charlie Brackenreid, the nephew of series regular Inspector Brackenreid (played by ex- Coronation Street star Thomas Craig), who arrives to help Detective Murdoch and his team catch a gang of female thieves terrorising the city of Toronto...
Tell us about Charlie?
"Charlie has a bit of a vicious streak. His best mate, Harry, was murdered in front of him back in London. So he’s still dealing with that when he arrives to work with his uncle."
What is Charlie's relationship like with his uncle, Inspector Brackenreid?
"I think Brackenreid Snr is very proud to have Charlie join the constabulary. They have a close relationship… But it turns sour towards the end of the episode."
Have you done any period drama before?
"I did a play, The Haunting, pretty much after I left EastEnders. It was based on a story by Charles Dickens. Shortly after that I did a short film set in World War 1. I really enjoy period stuff, it gives you a chance to look into an area of history you might not know too much about."
You're sporting a nice moustache in Murdoch Mysteries. Did you grow it especially for the role?
"Before I took that part I was in the middle of doing a masters at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and heading into my final piece for which I had grown a pretty big beard. Again that was a period piece, so I had the mutton chops and the 'tache. So luckily when Murdoch came in I already had it!"
RADA sounds fancy!
"I’ve never been to drama school as such. I wanted to go and learn more about the history of acting and learn some more skills going forward. In a way it was to prove to myself I was good enough to get in and to prove to other people I was good enough to get in there. Having just done EastEnders for four years, I didn’t want that to be the end to what I could do. I’ve learned so much this year."
Do you still get recognised for EastEnders?
"The recognition has died down. But people do a double-take every now and then and wonder if it might be me!"
Are there any regrets your character Bradley was killed off during the first-ever live episode of EastEnders in 2010?
"I was glad Bradley was killed off. When you don’t have the option of going back it pushes you to try harder and see what else you can do. I think you have to take risks, so I've no regrets about leaving the show."
Do you still watch EastEnders?
"I did see some of the anniversary week and I saw the full live episode. But to be honest, I've got a little boy now who keeps me pretty busy. But if I know something big’s coming up for Jake Wood (Max) or Lacey Turner (Stacey) I will try and watch it if I can."
What's next for you?
"I’ve just started a company with some friends, Lunchtime Theatre London. We are trying to bring theatre to people on their lunch breaks. At the moment we are doing a season at the Arts Theatre in the West End. We are doing two productions, Lone Star and Laundry & Bourbon. Hopefully we’ll be doing more stuff in the future."
Murdoch Mysteries is on Monday 27th April on Alibi
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Simon has long been a fan of soap operas, and especially loves OVER-THE-TOP plots involving evil twins, hair-pulling catfights and natural disasters.
Anyone remember the Sunset Beach earthquake/tidal wave?
Or when Krystle Carrington got locked in the attic and replaced by look-a-like Rita in Dynasty?!
Simon has written for a variety of TV and childrens’ magazines/websites including Inside Soap, Nickelodeon, What’s On TV, Radio Times, Metro, Girl Talk, Disney Girl, Toxic! and Digital Spy.
He has reported LIVE from the red carpet at The British Soap Awards interviewing glammed-up stars from soapland, and hosted a Facebook LIVE session for Metro with Home and Away legend Ray Meagher (Alf "Stone the flamin' crows!" Stewart) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Aussie soap.
Simon is also co-author of The Treasures Of Coronation Street (Carlton Books)