Jo Joyner on TOWIE, turning down Strictly and her live EastEnders gaffe

The Ordinary Lies actress has moved on from her "How's Adam?" mistake – but not her childhood crushes on Ant and Dec...

You’re in Ordinary Lies – what’s the biggest lie you’ve told?


After drama school, I moved to Manchester and – at the time – shows like Clocking Off were very popular. So I used to lie and audition as a northerner in order to get roles. I’m actually from Essex. But this ended up almost costing me the job in EastEnders. The casting department was talking about getting a southern version of me for Tanya. They’d just assumed I was northern.

You’ve said you haven’t watched the live EastEnders “How’s Adam?” mistake – is that a lie?

No, I promise you! And do you know what? I don’t need to because people were sending me pictures of my face in shock every day on Twitter. So I’ve seen that image a few million times…

You were very self-effacing about it on Twitter…

I thought I had to have the first word about it. If I’d gone to ground, it would have given people the chance to think that I was distressed and they’d have jumped on me. I’ve got a good sense of humour. But I couldn’t laugh about it until I’d gone out there the next night. I knew that people were watching to see if I messed up again. And to do that next episode live in front of ten million viewers was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

Would you go back to EastEnders?

You never know. But I’m definitely not ready to go back at the moment. I’m having such a good time outside of the show.

Which TV programmes do you never miss?

Towie, Made in Chelsea and Gogglebox. Some actors think that those shows have resulted in less drama being made… Well, you can’t be snobby about these things. If you’re an actor, it means you have to be nosey about people and characters. And what I like about Towie and Chelsea is the huge personalities. So I pretend it’s research to make myself feel better about watching them.

What makes you switch off ?

The Missing. I’ve got young kids and I’m just not in a place where I’d want to watch it. I’m in a light entertainment zone at the moment.

What do you watch with your children?

I love Saturday-night viewing. There used to be a time when we couldn’t wait for the kids to get to bed, so we could have some time on our own. But now that the children are five, it’s really lovely to get them in their pyjamas and watch things together like Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. It’s this generation’s version of Noel’s House Party. And Strictly, of course. Particularly last year when we had some friends on there [Joyner’s EastEnders screen husband Jake Wood took part].

Are you tempted to follow in Jake’s footsteps and do Strictly?

They’ve asked a couple of times, but it doesn’t appeal to me. I love dancing with my husband, but I like to dance as though no one’s watching me. And you clearly couldn’t on Strictly. I’m also told that I’m a bit of a control freak and very difficult to lead, so I can’t imagine I’d be very good.

Who was your first TV crush?

Probably Ant or Dec, back when they were in Byker Grove. In fact, I remember having a very innocent schoolgirl daydream about going on a bike ride, getting a puncture and Ant fixing it for me. But I’m actually more of a Dec girl now.


Jo Joyner is in Ordinary Lies – Tuesdays at 9:00pm on BBC1