EastEnders: Tony Clay on Halfway’s comeback, romance with Whitney – and why he’d like Lee Carter to return

The actor also reveals more about the introduction of Halfway's brother in the weeks ahead

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 24/04/2018 - Programme Name: EastEnders - April-June 2018 - TX: 01/05/2018 - Episode: EastEnders -April-June 2018 - 5699 (No. 5699) - Picture Shows: *STRICTLY NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS TUESDAY 24th APRIL 2018* 
Whitney wants to know what's wrong. Callum ‘Halfway’ Highway (TONY CLAY), Whitney Carter (SHONA MCGARTY) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes

Lovable Halfway makes his return to EastEnders next week, but it soon becomes clear that all is not well with the cheeky chappie. Forever grateful to him for helping save the Queen Vic, the Carters offer Halfway a room at the pub, but it quickly becomes apparent that he’s trying to hide an injury. Can Whitney get to the truth about what Halfway is trying to keep under wraps? Here’s actor Tony Clay with all the details on his character’s comeback:

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So, Tony, how does it feel to be back in Albert Square again?
Amazing. It feels really lovely to be back. There’s just a really nice vibe here.

Did you get recognised on the street after your first stint?
I did get a few looks, yes. I think because Danny Dyer has got such a big following and people thought I’d shot him! Everyone was thinking, ‘Oh my god, are they going to kill Mick Carter off? Is this the end?’ My Twitter was flooded with comments like, “Dude, what have you done?”

Was it always the plan for you to come back? Or was EastEnders influenced by the positive reaction to your character?
When I initially signed, it was only for two months. But from what I’ve been told, there was quite a nice reaction online from people who’d watched it. And then I got a phone cal asking if I’d be willing to come back. So I just felt really privileged. I’m now a part of the history of this show, which is really brilliant.

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Is it a vote of confidence also that EastEnders are going to bring your brother into the show too?
Yes. And it works with the story too. Halfway’s brother brings a new dynamic to it – it’s really good to have that coming up. Stuart is definitely the brother who wears the trousers and Halfway looks up to him. But you’ll soon get a sense that something isn’t right between them.

Do you think that big drama will be coming your way once Halfway has settled in?
I think there’s always that potential. Especially on the Square, where the drama is notorious! As with any character, it’s always interesting to explore the various different parts to a character – it’ll be really exciting to explore that, definitely.

Would you like the writers to pursue the relationship with Whitney?
Halfway isn’t someone who Whitney would probably go for in the grand scheme of things, but he has a kind of charm that wins her over. And I think that a lot of the time, that’s more important just how he looks. I think they make for a good pairing.

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What kind of mood is Halfway in when he comes back?
Something’s changed and you start to see him unravel. On the surface, he’s being quite jokey you begin to wonder what he’s trying to hide.

Where do you hope the character will be in a year’s time?
I’d love to see him stay with the Carters and develop that relationship more. It’ll also be nice to see where things go with Whitney – will they last? Like any relationship, you just don’t know.

He was originally billed as a mate of Lee’s – do you think that could make for a good friendship if Lee was to return?
I actually took drama at ArtsEd at the same time as Danny-Boy Hatchard. So if they did bring Lee back, that would be amazing. He was a strong character on the show, so the door should always be open for him to come back. It’s not my decision, of course, but I would be up for that.

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s drama on EastEnders below. Beneath that, there’s our Week in Walford review

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And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.