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7 things you didn’t know about Danielle Harold – AKA EastEnders’ Lola Pearce

EastEnders actress Danielle Harold
(Image credit: Can Nguyen/REX/Shutterstock)

Danielle Harold is back on our screens as EastEnders' Lola Pearce, and fans are thrilled!

Danielle Harold became a household name for her role as EastEnders' Lola Pearce, which she played between 2011 and 2015.

During her time on the show, Danielle, 26, found herself at the centre of some hard-hitting storylines and infamously became the first EastEnders actress to give birth on live television.

Since then she has made a comeback after four years away from the soap, and fans couldn't be happier to have her back on their screens.

Here are 7 things that you might not know about EastEnders actress Danielle Harold...

1. She admits she owes her career to Jamie Oliver

Back in 2011 Danielle quit her job as a waitress and took part in Jamie's Dream School and, according to the actress, it is the best thing she ever did. She thrived on the show and won a scholarship, which she spent on a drama teacher. She then got an agent, which lead to her first audition, which just happened to be for the role of Lola in EastEnders.

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2. She was seriously ill as a teenager

Getting a severe illness at just 15 meant that Danielle's schoolwork suffered and she ended up leaving school with only one GCSE. She told "I was in year 10 when I fell ill and was in and out of hospital. At that point I just gave up and didn't try with GCSEs.

"I didn't do well at school, I used to bunk off lessons a lot. I always felt frustrated because I couldn't understand maths and English. I knew I'd never get good grades, I was more into drama and sports."

3. She had a tough childhood 

She told The People: "I didn't grow up in a great area, it was tough sometimes. A local boy who lived a few streets away from me was out one night and ran into the wrong crowd. He was stabbed and died. That was a massive eye-opener for me, I was only 16 but it made me realise that there are dangers out there."

4. She's met her childhood heroes

During her four year stint away from EastEnders Danielle starred in horror film, Fanged Up, which lead to her being invited to the Cannes Film Festival.

While she was there Danielle bumped into actors John Travolta and Uma Thurman. She told "Cannes was one of the best experiences. I was in a queue to get an ice cream and Uma was in front of me.

"She dropped her wallet on the floor and I picked it up and gave it back. I also got to see a screening of Grease for the anniversary and John Travolta presented it. I was dying because Grease is one of my favourite films. He spoke to the audience and I ended up touching his hand!"

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5. She once thought about applying to Cambridge University

Whilst appearing on Jamie's Dream School, her history teacher, David Starkey, was so impressed with her essays that he encouraged her to apply to Cambridge University.

The actress confessed at the time that she was shocked that her essays were up to scratch because until that point she had never written one before. However, thankfully for Lola fans, Danielle decided that uni life wasn't for her and acting was her calling instead.

6. She's good friends with EastEnders favourite, Danny Dyer  

As well as keeping in touch with Perry Fenwick, better known to soap fans as EastEnders' Billy Mitchell, Danielle has revealed she is also good friends with another familiar face from Walford.

According to the actress Danny was really nervous on his first day at the soap, but she was quick to reassure him... something that she had to remind herself of as she made her own nerve-racking return to the show.

7. She thinks she has been typecast 

After leaving EastEnders back in 2015, Danielle has revealed that she kept being offered acting roles for sex workers or strippers, and she's convinced it is all down to her hair colour.

She told "I was stereotyped - it was the classic prostitute or pole dancing role. I couldn't wait to get back to EastEnders!"

Main picture of Danielle Harold: Can Nguyen/REX/Shutterstock

Claire Crick
Claire Crick

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.