TV comedian reveals the shock EastEnders role he turned down — and why!

The Albert Square sign on the set of EastEnders
A comedian could have appeared in EastEnders. (Image credit: BBC)

Taskmaster and Hold the Front Page season 2 star Josh Widdicombe revealed that he was asked to audition for a surprising role in EastEnders, but it didn't go down well with the comedian!

During an appearance on Pointless, Josh explained that he was asked to audition for the role of Sonia Fowler's (Natalie Cassidy) new boyfriend, who we now know as Reiss Colwell.

Josh made the surprising revelation when Natalie Cassidy was the answer to one of the questions on the show but decided not to accept the offer as he was rather offended by their email...

He said: "About a year ago, I got asked to play Sonia's new boyfriend. They described him as a nerd. And they emailed my agent and said, 'Thought this would be perfect for Josh!' Can you believe that? I've never been so offended in my life!"

Reiss, who is now played by Jonny Freeman, was introduced as Dot Cotton's (June Brown) great nephew and has sparked up a romance with nurse Sonia.

Josh Widdicombe

Comedian Josh Widdicombe turned down an EastEnders audition for the role of Reiss Colwell. (Image credit: BBC/Wall to Wall Media Ltd/Stephen Perry)

The bumbling accountant has a lot of comedic and awkward moments with the Walford residents, but underneath his innocent exterior, he is hiding a huge secret.

Reiss has been stealing money from his comatose wife Debbie to pay for IVF treatment so he can have a baby with Sonia.

The couple decided to go down the IVF route after Reiss revealed that he was infertile and after starting the process, Sonia has fallen pregnant.

Sonia Fowler and Reiss Colwell wait for the IVF treatment results

Reiss Colwell is played by Jonny Freeman. (Image credit: BBC)

In upcoming scenes, Reiss is pushed to breaking point by Sonia's sister Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer).

After Bianca's constant cruel and hurtful jibes, Reiss tells Sonia that he wants Bianca out of their house. Trying to make peace between her warring loved ones, Sonia tries to talk Reiss around but he refuses to back down.

With tension in the air, something shocking occurs that could change everything. Has something happened to Sonia?

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm on BBC One — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now.

Grace Morris
Staff Writer

Grace was a digital writer with, and she now writes for our sister site TechRadar. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.

You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series or much-loved UK soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). She's an expert in EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and everything reality-related from Selling Sunset and Married At First Sight UK to 90 Day Fiancé UK. Plus Netflix megahit Virgin River!

Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.