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EastEnders star Jamie Borthwick: ‘How could I not get involved in Barbara’s Revolutionaries?’

EastEnders star Jamie Borthwick
(Image credit: Anthony Harvey/REX/Shutterstock)

EastEnders star Jamie Borthwick on why the EastEnders cast are running the London Marathon for Dame Barbara Windsor

Some people can be counted on to go the extra mile. EastEnders stars Adam Woodyatt, Jake Wood, Emma Barton, Natalie Cassidy, Kellie Shirley, Tanya Franks and Jane Slaughter, however, can be counted on to go an extra 26.2 miles!

Under the banner of "Barbara’s Revolutionaries" they’re running to raise money for Dementia Revolution - a year-long campaign uniting Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK – on behalf of friend and co-worker, Dame Barbara Windsor, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014.

TV Times talk to Jamie Borthwick, 24, who plays Jay Brown in EastEnders. Here he explains why he’s taking part in Sunday’s iconic London Marathon…

What does it mean to you to be one of Barbara’s Revolutionaries?

Jamie: “It’s really special because Barbara is a personal friend, who is suffering from dementia. There’s no noticeable cure for it at the moment, so it’s very important that we get behind this and do all we can to raise awareness.”

Former EastEnders legend Barbara Windsor

Jamie is running for Barbara

How is training going?

JB: “Everyone’s training has been going great – but I’ve suffered a bad knee injury. It’s frustrating but I’m going run a bit and walk the rest. I don’t want to let Scott or Barbara down. Everyone in the group is really supportive. We’re not trying to do it in a certain time. As long as we’re there on the day and beside Scott that’s all we really care about.”

Has anyone on the team surprised you?

JB: “Tanya, Scott, Natalie and Jane are all up to 20 miles now. They’re going to be way ahead! It will be me, Adam and Emma in the back! Jane [who plays ‘silent barmaid’ Tracey in EastEnders] was quite worried about it and thought she’d be one of the last, but she’s smashing it. I’m so proud of them all!"

Read our interview with Kellie Shirley for more on the team’s training progress

Do you remember first meeting Barbara?

JB: “Yes, I remember walking into the iconic Queen Vic set on one of my first days and there was Barbara, Adam, Steve McFadden, Pam St Clement and June Brown – all the EastEnders heavyweights! I was this young, cheeky 12-year-old kid and I don’t think they knew quite how to take me. But Barbara was one of the ones who did. She used to laugh with me, but rein me in when I needed it!”

Were you star struck?

JB: “It’s odd but I’ve always felt some sort of spiritual connection to Barbara – even when I didn’t know her. My uncle would always talk about Barbara and her association with people like The Beatles back in the day. She is a real East End matriarchal figure. She reminds me so much of my mum and grandmother and represents all these women I met growing up. So to meet her and then become friends with her and her husband. Wow! Life really does work in crazy ways. Taking all that into consideration, how could I not get involved in Barbara’s Revolutionaries?”

TO DONATE:

To donate support the Dementia Revolution and Barbara’s Revolutionaries visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Barbarasrevolutionaries

Dementia Revolution is a yearlong joint campaign by Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, to find out more visit dementiarevolution.org

EastEnders continues on BBC1.

Main pic: Anthony Harvey/REX/Shutterstock; Barbara pic: Anthony Harvey/REX/Shutterstock