Steven Beale breathed his last on tonight’s EastEnders, passing away in the wake of the fire at his family’s restaurant. A question mark currently hangs over what it was that actually killed Psycho Steven (doctors were seen talking about “internal bleeding”), but there’s no denying that the character is no more.
Here, actor Aaron Sidwell reflects on his high-profile final week in Walford and how he felt about his character’s last storyline…
It’s been a dramatic week in Albert Square – what was it like to film? It was very fitting for me for all my big stuff to be with Laurie [Brett] because of the history between Steven and Jane, so it was great. The nicest thing for me was to share that with Laurie, as well as Jake [Wood] and Lorna [Fitzgerald], who were also involved in the storyline.
Steven’s death came as quite a shock – how did you feel when you read the script? What felt particularly fitting about it was the tragedy of it all – it was a very Shakespearian tragedy in that Steven finds out the girl he’s fallen in love with and who loves him too, is carrying his child and all his crimes are forgiven. It’s everything that he’s ever wanted in life but he doesn’t get to have it. It was very apt for that to be Steven’s end. His whole life has been so tragic, yet we’ve just seen him make the decision to not be that person – to try to save Jane and yet that’s the decision that cost him his life.
What was it like to film your final scenes? We shot my final scenes last, so all the hospital scenes were my final ones to film. Steven was a character that existed before I came along. He’d existed for 18 years before I came along which is a long time, and I remember him being a character in the show when I was a kid. He’s been ‘mine’ since he was an adult so there’s a real finality to it – it was sad to say goodbye to him.
What and who are you going to miss the most? I think what I’ll miss about the job the most are little things like the Beales’ house. In a way it was home to me, because I’ve been treating it as home for ten years. There are a lot of people I’ll stay in touch with. I’ll miss working with everybody. It’s always the people you miss when you leave a job, but I know that I will see them all again and I’ll be following their careers very closely. I’ll miss my on-screen family so much – Jacs [Jacqueline Jossa], Gilly [Gillian Taylforth], Laurie (Brett) and Adam [Woodyatt]. We really did have this family dynamic and we were really close. I’ll never really feel like I’ve completely left. The show will always be a part of me, it was my first job. I’ve had brilliant material with brilliant actors. I couldn’t have asked for more from playing Steven.
What are you going to do next? I’m doing the Wicked UK and Ireland Tour until January 2019, and I’ve got other little projects that are bubbling away, so there’s a lot going on. It’s an exciting time for me personally with just buying our first house and I’ve got lots of holidays with my kids coming up.
How do you hope that the viewers will remember Steven? I think that Steven is an iconic character and the fact we had Nasty Nick, Dirty Den and now, as the audience have named him, Psycho Steven – that in itself, the fact he has a ‘name’, tells you what an iconic character he was. He was also the eldest Beale – the first Beale child in that brood and he will always have an iconic status. I think he was such a brilliant, brilliant, character.
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