Timothy West had never seen EastEnders prior to appearing in it.
“I’ve had to start watching it which I never used to”, the newest addition to the cast told Radio Times “– to find out who everybody is!”
Nor did he initially warm to his Walford relatives when he tuned in: “I started off hating all my family but I now absolutely adore them. They’ve got family problems that are quite extreme but nevertheless they’re recognisable as family problems.”
The acclaimed thespian plays Danny Dyer’s screen dad, a cantankerous retired fishmonger called Stan Carter. Show bosses have promised that when Stan becomes a regular in April, he will waste no time in “manipulating the whole Carter clan from the comfort of his armchair.”
Radio Times can reveal that this is partly because West recently broke his ankle and is currently on crutches. The EastEnders scriptwriters have been forced to write the injury into the script, meaning armchair scenes aplenty.
West is married to former Fawlty Towers star Prunella Scales, 81, who he recently revealed has a “quite mild” “sort of Alzheimer’s”. But asked whether he and Scales will ever retire, the 79 year-old replied: “No. Some do. Some say, ‘Oh come on, I’ve had enough of this.’ We don’t feel that way. Somebody has got to play the old buffers.”
Read the full interview with Timothy West and Prunella Scales in this week’s Radio Times on sale Tuesday 4 March