EastEnders has tonight revealed the mystery surrounding Fi Browning – she is actually the daughter of notorious Walford villain James Willmott-Brown! Yes, Fi (or Sophie as we’ve now learned) has been concealing this vital piece of info ever since she was introduced back in April. And it now appears that the subterfuge has been for a specific reason: twisted Willmott-Brown wants revenge on those he feels have wronged him. And Fi is very much a part of her family’s sick scheme! Here, actress Lisa Faulkner reveals all about how she kept her character’s history under wraps – and why she was never meant to be a mainstay in the Square:
So, when did you learn exactly who Fi was? When I went to the first meeting, they literally told me everything. They told me what they’d got planned for the entire storyline and that they’d like me to play Fi. It was so exciting to hear how the story was described and the background into the character that I knew I couldn’t possibly turn it down. Even though it wasn’t something that was on my agenda at the time, it was just too good an opportunity to miss.
How was the storyline explained to you and how have you enjoyed it? We were always clear that there would be a beginning, middle and end – Fi was coming in to do a job. She was never going to be a new regular living on the Square and I have absolutely loved it. I’m really pleased the secret about Willmott-Brown is now finally out, because it’s been so huge and I’ve not been able to tell anybody! It’s been the best fun to play – I have to say I’ve loved every single minute of it, I really have.
Did you remember James Wilmott-Brown from all those years ago? I did – in fact that was probably the time when I watched EastEnders avidly. I remember him and the story very well. It’s been really exciting to hear the reaction of people close to me when they found out. John [Torode, Faulkner partner] was the only person who knew the whole thing – no one could believe it when I told them I was playing Willmott-Brown’s daughter. People of a certain age will definitely say, “Oh my God!” It’s been good fun.
What was it like coming face to face with such an iconic character? It’s funny how you remember certain things. I remembered him being blonde and I remembered his voice. As soon as he spoke to me I was like, “I remember that voice!”. William [Boyde] is lovely to work with!
Has it been hard to keep the secret? I felt like I couldn’t tell anybody. For a long time, I couldn’t breathe a word of it, even on set. But I seem to live my life around secrets. I won MasterChef and had to keep that secret for six months…it was a secret when I did Spooks that I wasn’t going to be a regular character in it, but I had to pretend that I was. I spend quite a bit of time pretending! The people that needed to know knew, and for everyone else I had a stock answer about being sworn to secrecy.
EastEnders was your first acting role since the Murdoch Mysteries in 2012 – has it made you want to pursue acting again? Absolutely. I’m in love with both cooking and acting! The experience has totally re-ignited my passion for acting and made me realise that I’d really missed playing a character. It’s also been a brilliant opportunity to play someone so different to me. Acting again has been like putting on my favourite jumper and made me realise that I want to do both.
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