Danny Dyer has pledged his future to EastEnders, saying that he wants to give two decades’ worth of service behind the bar of the Queen Vic as landlord Mick Carter.
“I’m here for a 20 stretch,” he reveals in the new issue of Radio Times. “The key is that I’m enjoying it. As long as they want to keep me, I’ll stay. This is me now.”
The actor has now been on screen for over four months, with Mick and his family having taken over at the Walford pub over Christmas 2013. But the 36-year-old actor – whose previous movie credits include The Football Factory and Vendetta – admits that he’d previously had preconceptions about working on a soap opera.
“I think there is a snobbery towards working in soaps by other actors who turn their nose up at it. And I would probably have been one of those actors,” he continues. “But now I’ve come into EastEnders, I realise how hard it is. You’ve got to be so on the ball as an actor to make your character believable. You’re on TV four nights a week, there’s 45 pages of dialogue to learn per day and there’s no rehearsal. It’s like doing a short film in a day. It’s a real test. If you’re blagging it as an actor, you’ll be exposed once you come into a soap. That’s what I’d say to the snobby mob.”
Working alongside such co-stars as Kellie Bright (Linda), Sam Strike (Johnny) and Maddy Hill (Nancy) has also fostered an intimacy between the Carter clan that Dyer is grateful for: “They do feel like my family as well. It’s a really weird feeling. I’ve never had that before. When someone’s having an off day, we talk about it. We’re very respectful of each other. We spend a lot of time together and that translates on screen.
“My real-life daughter Sunnie loves Sam. She wants him to come round for a play date and I keep telling her that he’s 20! But she looks at them like they’re siblings. She’s so comfortable with them and will go running up to Maddy and sit in her lap.”
As for his own experiences, the actor discloses that he was recently able to take stock of his new circumstances when filming a night shoot on the soap’s set in Elstree. “My life has turned around so much as an actor these past four months. I went through a stage where I was respected as an actor and then I made some bad decisions and became a joke. Now people are saying I’m a good actor again.
“Recently, I was getting ready to do my scene and I had a walk through the Square. It was a nice evening, the set was all lit up and it looked really pretty. And I had this little moment of clarity where I thought, ‘Wow, I really like this job.’ Because it’s usually so manic and you don’t get much time to think. But now and again, it slows right down and you get to appreciate what you’ve got.”
Read the full interview with Danny Dyer in the new issue of Radio Times (out Tuesday)