Is there any one character from the show’s past that you’d like to bring back?
Well, it’s impossible and completely hypothetical – but Kathy Beale.
Impossible because she was killed off! Yet I suppose this didn’t stop Den Watts from coming back…
Yes, it’s got to be a really big character if you’re going to resurrect them from the dead. I thought Den’s story was actually quite plausible and cleverly worked out. They’d seeded it for a long time what with his son Dennis Rickman being on the show. It was better than Bobby Ewing in the shower on Dallas – that was pants!
But I don’t think it’s possible, really, to bring Kathy back – the whole reason she was killed off was so that Ben could come over and be a neutralising element to Phil and Ian’s relationship. So if not Kathy, then it would be fun to see all of Ian’s ex-wives. Well, the ones who are still alive. But that’s a shame as well because I couldn’t bring back that one who’s currently working in the Rovers Return…
Ha! Would you like to see Ian involved in more comedic scenes, then? I particularly liked the Mr Spock costume he wore recently. I know you are a Star Trek fan, so was that your idea?
Funnily enough, I got told off this morning for trying to turn the show into a sitcom! But no, the Spock costume idea wasn’t mine, although I was quite chuffed with it. I do like Star Trek – I watched the original series, Next Generation and Deep Space Nine but I think it was wearing a bit thin by the time it got to Voyager. I think they pushed the franchise to the absolute limit.
But if you could be in any other show, would it be Star Trek?
I think I would have to say ‘yes’ to that. I also fancy Doctor Who – I want to be an alien, heavily made up so people wouldn’t be able to tell it was me. I think everyone of my generation would like to do Doctor Who because we all have something significant from the show that we remember from childhood.
For me it was Jon Pertwee, the Brigadier and these giant maggoty slug things [The Green Death]. I have this memory of watching it when I was off school ill. So it must have been repeated in the daytime. Or maybe it was the school holidays. I do like the new series as well though – I enjoyed the Christmas special and I think Matt Smith is brilliant.
Is there a responsibility that comes with being in EastEnders? Knowing that you can make a fan’s day when they bump into you on the street?
It’s just about being respectful. If people are polite when they greet you, then you’re polite back. If people are rude, then guess what they’re going to get? Nine times out of ten, I get a good response.
And is there a blurring of reality and fiction? Do you get called Ian a lot?
That happens on a regular basis and people can feel so embarrassed once they realise they’ve done it. You can see them kicking themselves and you have to say, “It’s alright. It doesn’t matter.” I don’t answer to “Ian”, though, if someone just shouts it out at me. Unless I’m in a really good mood and then I might!
Having been on EastEnders since the beginning, do you feel like its elder statesman?
June Brown is the elder statesman, definitely. I have to concede that one – she’s got 41 years on me. I’m June’s whipping boy! But, honestly, I don’t tend to think about these things. It’s the place I work and where I come to have a laugh.
And finally, do you have any regrets about not bringing out a hit record back in the 1980s when Nick Berry and Letitia Dean were doing theirs? After all, you were in The Banned?
Have you heard me sing!? Someone did say to me that if I’d sung on that record I’d have made a few quid. That might have made me look at things differently. So, as far as regrets go over 28 years, that may just be the one.
Adam Woodyatt is nominated in the Best Serial Drama Performance category at this year’s National Television Awards. To vote for him, please head to www.nationaltvawards.com