The teens of Walford are off on holiday next week to the New Forest, but events don’t go according to plan for mechanic Dexter Hartman after he loses £10,000 of Phil Mitchell’s money.
Before setting off from London, Phil (Steve McFadden) gives garage employees Dexter and Jay instructions to drop off a car in exchange for the wad of cash. But after making the deal, Dex is left astonished later in the day when he realises that the banknotes have been stolen.
Once back in Walford, it becomes immediately apparent that Phil is less than pleased with developments. At the Arches, Phil looms over Dexter, grabs a wrench and physically forces him to place his hand on a car bonnet. So how scared is Dexter at that moment in time?
“He feels entirely responsible for what’s happened and he’s very frightened. He might lose an arm right now,” says actor Khali Best, who plays Dexter. “He understands the power triangle at the Arches and his place within it. He’s still a cheeky young individual but he’s definitely scared in that situation.”
Yet despite the intensity of the situation, it seems that Best relishes any opportunity to share a scene with soap stalwart McFadden: “It’s always nice to see one of those on the call sheet. It means you’ll have a good day and that he’ll tell you a joke.”
Best arrived in Albert Square back in January and has steadily been given increasingly high profile storylines during 2013, this latest incident with Phil’s missing money following on from the introduction of Dexter’s long-lost father Sam back in May. So has Best’s life changed as a result of joining EastEnders?
“I cannot live what people consider a normal life anymore,” he admits. “But that’s not a problem. It’s part of the job. However, I don’t think anything can really prepare you for the experience. People can you about what happened to them, but it’s always going to be different to what happens to you. If you take it one day at a time then you should be all right.”
And when was the first moment that he realised he’d caught the public’s attention?
“On the seventh of January 2013 when my first episode aired. I didn’t know I was on TV at the time, but I left my house to go to the cash point and literally stopped traffic. People were getting out of their cars and beeping their horns. It was ridiculous.
“So I went back inside and thought, ‘OK Khali, things have changed now. You’re famous. But that’s not a problem. Just calm down and relax’. And day by day it got more apparent. But it’s cool.”
Not that life among the fans is any more strange than life among his co-stars. “When you’re on the set, it’s just mental,” Best laughs. “I can’t explain to you what kind of craziness happens on that set. You can’t write it. When you’re an actor, you’re mad. So think about a room full of them. So it’s fun, it’s interesting. It’s always like a party. You never know what’s going to happen.”