EastEnders' Steve McFadden tells Soaplife that Phil's drug addiction will change him for ever... Peggy thought she was doing the right thing by Louise by giving her back into Lisa’s care. Can’t Phil see that? "All he can see is Peggy’s betrayed him. She knows how much he fought for custody, for contact and how important it was for him to see his children. He’s really angry about it and feels the world is against him." We often hear of kids getting hooked on drugs. But isn’t it odd for a 49-year-old man to suddenly become an addict? "What he’s really doing is self-harm which is a common response to anger. People do crazy, mad things like this when they’re desperate. It’s very ugly and disturbing." He ends up living with Tanya’s druggie sister Rainie. Isn't this is a bit cruel to Shirley? "It’s not about attraction. It’s all about the drugs and Rainie has access to them. Shirley’s stuck with him through thick and thin but he doesn’t want to be helped at the moment." However he feels about Peggy, she still cares about him. Can she do anything to make him see sense? "Phil blames her for the mess he’s in. She gave Louise away and he thinks she was instrumental in losing Ben because she was the one who persuaded him to stay when he wanted to leg it." He’s hit Peggy once. Could he become more violent? "He’s hit his kids and his mum, so yes... it’s something he’s capable of." If Shirley said ‘It’s me or the drugs’, which would he choose? "Right now the drugs because he’s in self-destruct mode." Will this destroy Phil? "I think he’ll come out the other side of this a wiser and older owl. He’ll be stronger and a more complete person. He’s a 49-year-old bloke living with his mum and he won’t be that person any more. We’ve had Phil and Grant, then Phil and Peggy... but now he’ll be on his own." Do you mean ‘on his own’ totally? We're intrigued about Phil and Shirley's future... "Shirley’s the one person who offers Phil the opportunity to have an equal relationship with a woman." Have you found this storyline tough? "Doing a storyline like this drains the life out of you. I can honestly say this has been my most challenging and exciting year in EastEnders." Click here to watch whatsontv.co.uk's weekly soaps video preview, the Soap Scoop Get EastEnders storylines first! Sign up to receive our EastEnders Extra newsletter
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.