EastEnders boss Chris Clenshaw has spoken about his decision to cast Bobby Brazier, and revealed that he offered the teenager an audition after seeing his posts on social media.
Bobby - the elder son of presenter Jeff Brazier and the late Big Brother star Jade Goody - made his debut on EastEnders this week as Freddie Slater.
The 19-year-old has no previous acting experience and, before EastEnders, was a successful model for the likes of Dolce and Gabbana.
Reveals Clenshaw, “We’re always looking for new talent. I saw Bobby’s social media and we were already conceiving Freddie and building his character, and there was some of what I saw in Bobby that I thought would be perfect for Freddie - his energy, his twinkle, his spiritual side.
“So then we brought Bobby in to audition, along with some others, and he just blew us away with his performance. He is Freddie Slater.”
Freddie has arrived in Walford to reconnect with his ‘dad’ Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick), having grown up in Devon with his mum, Little Mo Slater (Kacey Ainsworth), who left Walford in 2006.
He’s unaware that he was conceived as a result of his mother’s rape by Queen Vic punter Graham Foster in 2003.
Speaking about his character, Brazier explains, “He’s got a lot of depth to him, but he’s also a lad in the way he does silly things. He’s reckless. But it always comes from a place of love.
“He comes [to Walford] because he thinks Billy Mitchell is his dad. A lot of the audience will know the truth, and it’s not long before Freddie discovers Billy isn’t his dad.”
Brazier adds that he feels “supported” by his fellow cast members, as he adapts to his new career.
“Everyone from the scriptwriters to Chris to the people that cook our food has made me feel so welcome so quickly. And I feel really lucky.
“Very early on, I slid into a place of calmness and I just feel like it translates on screen, because I don’t want to look stupid on screen, like I don’t know what I’m doing.
“I had zoom calls before coming in, and people said it’s like a family here, there’s a lot of love here, and I was like ‘Yeah, yeah, sure.’
“But I came in and I felt it straight away, from everyone.
“I want to give a special mention to Lacey Turner (who plays Stacey). Lacey feels like home. She doesn’t realise how beautiful and funny she is; she’s great.
“I could say the same about Emma (Barton), who plays Honey.”
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When she is not writing about soaps, watching soaps, or interviewing people who are in soaps, she loves going to the theatre, taking a long walk or pottering about at home, obsessing over Farrow and Ball paint.