He’s known for his tough guy movie roles and for playing alpha male Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter – but it seems that Danny Dyer is really just a softie at heart.
“I find it very comforting on a Sunday, after I’ve had a massive roast, to lie on the sofa and watch Countryfile,” says the actor in the new issue of Radio Times. “I know nothing about farming or the countryside, having been brought up on a council estate, but it fascinates me. It’s just so nice. It gives you a cuddle. And I always look out for the weather – I feel sorry for the farmers if they’ve got a tough week ahead of them.”
The 36-year-old also reveals that the Sunday-evening rural affairs show has brought him to tears: “I am a bit of a crier. I do get all choked up at certain things. Countryfile even made me cry once when a lamb didn’t make it. I get emotional – it just comes on me and I get very overwhelmed.
“The end of Breaking Bad also got to me. I binged on that because everyone was telling me about it. It’s the kind of programme where you put the first episode on and then you’re up for the next three days off your nut on coffee because you’ve got obsessed with it.”
Recent EastEnders episodes have also featured their fair share of tears of late as Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) received the shock news that his daughter Lucy had been murdered, the counterpoint to which was the birth in the Queen Vic of bulldog Lady Di’s pups. So does Dyer think that the mixture of light and shade served the soap well?
“We needed that balance and we got it right. Words can’t describe how much respect I’ve got for Adam Woodyatt – you have to go to some dark places in your head to make that believable. It’s so difficult to play and he was heart-wrenching. But half an hour of that would have been too much for anybody. So it was nice to break it up. It was very clever.”
Indeed, such is the power of EastEnders that it’s now able to unite the whole of the Dyer family around the TV: “It’s the only thing I’ve been able to do that I can watch with my kids and the missus. I’m known for making 18-certificate films, so chucking on The Football Factory wouldn’t be the best thing to do.
“So we do all sit around to watch it and it’s a really nice moment. My daughter Sunnie gets very excited when she hears the theme tune. And I also find that it raises debate, which is what it should be doing. That’s the kind of thing we should be making. The last thing you want is for it to be forgettable and for no one to care. That would be my worst nightmare.”
Read the interview with Danny Dyer in the new issue of Radio Times (on sale Tuesday)
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news