When you got the part, did you know that Nick was coming back?
I had an inkling that would happen! Especially seeing as I going in playing Charlie Cotton and being a part of Dot and Nick’s family. They’re such big, iconic characters. You do feel a hell of a lot of responsibility and pressure. Hopefully I don’t mess it up.
Do you think Charlie could turn violent like his dad?
He's half and half. He has definitely got that side to him from Nick. But I think he’s spent a lot of his life trying to suppress it. He’s seen the negative effect it can have on family and friends and he doesn’t want to be that person. He’s been through a childhood where he had his mum, Yvonne, and this father figure who wasn’t around a lot of the time. But he struggles to suppress that darker side. I hope it comes out. It would be ace!
We know that Samantha Womack is back filming - what's happening between Charlie and Ronnie?
Yes, that storyline has been left a little bit hanging. Charlie had a thing with Ronnie. He thought it was all going really well and then she’s like, "I’m seeing someone else. See you later!" As far as he’s aware she’s gone and left him, never to be seen again.
So how will he react if he finds out that Ronnie is pregnant?
It depends on whether she says anything. She’s got quite a history herself, hasn’t she? So he’ll have to tread carefully.
Next week, we'll see Charlie's mum Yvonne wanting them both to flee - how does Charlie react to that?
He loves his mum more than anything. For most of his life it's just been him and her, with this other figure rearing his ugly head and causing problems. So he really wants to do the right thing by his mum, but now he would do almost anything for his grandma, Dot. So it becomes this battle of two strong females. They both want him in their lives, but his mum wants one thing but his grandma deserves another.
You're used to musical theatre - have you had to rein it in since you started work on EastEnders?
Massively! There was one point, in an early shoot, when one of the directors said, "Declan, June is sitting just there. You don’t need to shout!" I was like, I’m sorry, I thought there were 2,500 people out there. Why isn’t anyone clapping when we finish? It is weird, it’s a totally different ball game. This is my first actual TV. I’ve done some movie stuff, which again is different. So it took a while, but you do find your stride.