Mica Paris reveals her EastEnders storyline brought back memories of family tragedy

Mica Paris in EastEnders as Ellie Nixon

Mica has joined EastEnders as new baddie Ellie Nixon

EastEnders star Mica Paris has revealed that filming her fictional Walford storyline brought back real life-memories, including the tragic death of her brother. 

Paris made her debut in EastEnders on Friday as new villain Ellie Nixon, the adoptive grandmother of Denise Fox and Phil Mitchell’s son, Raymond.

EastEnders Denise Fox Kim Hubbard

Difficult birth: Denise had a son in 2017 following a drunken one-night stand with Phil (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes)

When Denise learnt that the son she had given away had been involved in a car crash, she rushed to the hospital where Ellie (Paris) was at Raymond’s bedside.

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Ellie, who assumed Denise was a family friend, revealed that Raymond's mother had died, and was then told by a doctor that her own son - Raymond’s adoptive father - had also passed away.

51-year-old Paris, who in recent years has starred in a number of musicals, including Fame and Chicago, said: "I’d never done this type of filming before. 

Jack Branning confronts Denise in EastEnders

Denise was shocked when she discovered the news about Raymond's family (Picture: BBC)

"The role is so intense that you soon forget about all these silly things that I was worrying about before, because the storyline is so strong. You literally get swept up into the vortex of the story."

Paris drew on personal experience while filming, including losing her brother, Jason, who was tragically shot dead.

"I've been through similar situations a few times - especially with my brother, who I lost 18 years ago.

"I felt like I was back in that moment at the hospital, and was able to draw on that experience to bring that sentiment to the role."

Paris describes Ellie as 'strong and hardcore' and promises that "even Phil Mitchell will be scared of her!"

And it’s likely that some heavy-duty drama is in the offing as Ellie and Denise battle for custody of Raymond, who has been left an orphan.

Denise realises Amy has a crush on Isaac in EastEnders

Determined: Can Denise get son Raymond back, or will Ellie win the fight? (Picture: BBC)

"Ellie has been thrown in at the deep end with the accident," adds Paris.

"She's the family member that you never really see until there's a catastrophe, and there's no one else to turn up for it. 

"She is not the doting grandma at all.

"She hasn't been around the family much, like the distant grandma that you hear about but never see.

"Suddenly, here she is having to step up because her son's gone, his wife has gone and she's the only one left as Raymond’s next of kin. It's very shocking for her.

"It's a tug of war.

"Denise wants her son for her own reasons, and Ellie wants him for her own reasons too, and this little boy is stuck in the middle."

EastEnders airs Mondays at 8.05pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.35pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One - see our TV Guide for full listings.

Alison Slade
Soaps Editor
Alison Slade has over 20 years of experience as a TV journalist and has spent the vast majority of that time as Soap Editor of TV Times magazine.  She is passionate about the ability of soaps to change the world by presenting important, issue-based stories about real people in a relatable way. There are few soap actors that she hasn’t interviewed over the years, and her expertise in the genre means she has been called upon as a judge numerous times for The British Soap Awards and the BAFTA TV Awards.

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.