'Lee Carter may never return to EastEnders' reveals Danny-Boy Hatchard

Danny-Boy Hatchard returns as Lee Carter. can he help his mum and dad with their struggles? (Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron)

Playing the troubled EastEnders character has left Danny-Boy Hatchard exhausted, as the young actor revealed to us...

EastEnders character Lee Carter left the soap following an emotional battle with depression last month and Danny-Boy Hatchard, who played the troubled young man, says he doesn’t know if he could ever return to Albert Square.

Danny-Boy will be taking the stage in the second heat of Let’s Sing and Dance For Comic Relief this week and the actor is looking forward to having a bit of fun after a gruelling few months on the Walford soap.

EastEnders viewers watched in horror as Lee Carter battled depression, unsuccessfully try to kill himself, help organise a brutal raid on his own family home and hit his wife Whitney, before leaving Walford for a new life in Dover.

"It was nice to leave to be honest," said Danny-Boy. "I became an actor so I could play all kinds of roles and not stay in any given place for too long. I did cap my time at EastEnders at three years and it worked out perfectly. Now I’m looking forward to the next project, but it has to be the right project."

Yet while Danny-Boy felt it was the right time to leave the BBC soap, he is very proud of his character’s storyline.

"The final few months were so intense," he explained. "It was very hard doing those scenes day after day, but it was worth it for the incredible response I got from people. I had people coming up to me on the street and really opening up to me, saying the storyline had saved their relationship. It was really humbling to hear how it had helped them. I have a bag of letters that I haven’t had a chance to read, I will try to get through them though."

Lee’s storyline made a real impact on Danny-Boy and the actor has revealed he would only ever return to EastEnders if his character was given the right storyline…

“It’s difficult for me to say if I would ever return at the moment,” he said. “You’d have to ask me in a couple of years time, but it depends on the storyline. If in a couple of years time, nothing was happening and EastEnders said they wanted Lee to come back a different person, they wanted him to be happy and have a positive storyline, then I would seriously consider it because I think I owe the general public that as well.

“It’s important to see the progression of someone who has suffered. It’s insinuated that he’s gone away to help and get better, so it would be nice for him to come back in that way. I love the show and I will forever, it will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ll never say never!”

Danny-Boy can’t wait to perform I’m Still Standing by Elton John for Comic Relief on Saturday, but he won’t be surprised if Danny Dyer, who played his dad Mick Carter in EastEnders, has a laugh at his expense.

"Danny will definitely have something to say about my dancing,’ says Danny-Boy. ‘He was like a supportive parent to me when I was on EastEnders but he never misses a chance to give me a bit of a ribbing. I think he’ll be proud of me though, because he does a lot of stuff for charity – maybe he’ll come on the show next year?

"I’m usually the last person on the dance floor when I go out with my pals. I need to have a few drinks before I have a boogie, but I can move a bit so hopefully I’ll be okay on the night!"

Danny-Boy Hatchard will be performing I’m Still Standing by Elton John on Let’s Sing and Dance For Comic Relief this Saturday, 6.45pm, BBC1. To donate to Comic Relief go to www.comicrelief.com

Sean Marland

Sean is a Senior Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week, who also writes for whattowatch.com. He's been covering the world of TV for over 15 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are I'm Alan Partridge, The Wire, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.