Matt Di Angelo has revealed that this year’s Christmas episodes of EastEnders will be incendiary for his character Dean Wicks.
The fact that Dean raped Queen Vic landlady Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) has not yet been revealed to the rest of her family, but all that will change when the truth comes out over the festive season.
“It’s the Christmas Day episode of EastEnders – it’s going to have a bit of everything, isn’t it?” says the actor. “It’s going to be explosive. I can’t say much, but it was challenging and fun to film. There’s plenty of emotional dialogue and a lot comes out…”
In the wake of Dean’s attack on Linda, the salon owner has tried to pass the rape off as a fling and has even embarked on a subsequent relationship with fellow stylist Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner). So what reaction has Di Angelo had from viewers about the plotline?
“A lot of people talk about it,” he comments. “People are really interested and it is an important story to tell. It has to be taken seriously. Dean’s still got an element of charm about him, which is messed up and people can’t quite get their head around it.”
And does the character genuinely believe that what he did was consensual? “It’s kind of a deep-rooted psychological thing. I researched this with the London Probation Centre and it’s similar to when you have an argument with someone. You tell your side of the story and point out everything the other person did wrong.
“After you’ve told that to three or four people, your side of the story keeps on getting a little more distant from the truth until you’re at a point where you think you’ve done nothing wrong and the other person is completely in the wrong.
“For Dean, he is convincing himself of his version of events, which is apparently what can happen in real life.”
Yet despite Dean’s actions having taken a dark turn, the actor cites the plotline as his favourite since returning to EastEnders earlier this year: “Having a storyline that pushes and challenges you is great to do. And working with Kellie Bright has been a highlight – she’s a really great actress.”
Of course, with secrets set to spill in dramatic style, Di Angelo’s working relationship with the rest of the Carters is sure to change. Dean has, for instance, grown quite close to Mick over the past few months – so how will that change once the bombshell drops?
“Danny Dyer and I were talking about this the other day, actually. If this storyline hadn’t happened, then you could see Dean and Mick having a good friendship. The characters are similar in certain ways and Danny and I enjoy working together. But, obviously when all this comes out, it’s probably going to be the end of it.”
The Christmas Day episode of EastEnders will be broadcast at 9.00pm on BBC1 and repeated at 11.00pm on BBC3
You can watch a 60-second rundown of the drama in next week’s episodes of EastEnders below: