James Bye has discussed how his character Martin Fowler reacts to his current predicament in EastEnders.


A major storyline in the BBC One soap at the moment concerns the underage pregnancy of Martin's 12-year-old stepdaughter Lily Slater (Lillia Turner) and viewers have seen Stacey and Martin react to the shocking development.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com at the Radio Times Covers Party, James Bye revealed that he was taken by surprise when he read the storyline.

"They sort of just dropped that storyline in and it's sort of taken off," revealed Bye.

Praising his young co-star Lillia Turner, Bye commented: "Lillia, who plays Lily, is just phenomenal that we knew she was good when she came in and when she got the recast, but what she's doing and what she's got coming up, she's just as amazing. And so yeah, getting to be a part of that’s brilliant."

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When Martin discovered that his 12-year-old daughter was pregnant, he initially reacted with anger and tried to push her into an abortion before being pulled up by his ex-wife Stacey and he now fully supports Lily.

"Martin didn't deal with it very well, but I think he's one of those guys, now the dust has settled, he just wants to be there to support his family," noted Bye. "Yeah, he's that I think he brings that element to the Slaters that they don't have, you know, that stability, that level-headedness. They're all kind of you know, quite dexterous. So yeah, that is nice to be that grounded, you know, the grounded one."

The father-of-four also butted heads with Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), the father of Ricky Mitchell (Frankie Day) who is the father of Lily's unborn child.

Commenting on that tension, Bye noted: "What I love is the little nuance that we're playing is that Martin - that's how he felt, so he can see and you can understand Jack's frustrations in his reaction but obviously he's got to defend his family.

"So Martin and Jack do have a couple of, you know, head to heads, which is great. However, Scott and I are very close, we're very good friends. So for us to do stuff like that we never get to work together in that vicinity, so it's really lovely to do stuff like that together."

James Bye as Martin Fowler, Lacey Turner as Stacey Slater, Diane Parish as Denise Fox, Kim Medcalf as Sam Mitchell, and Scott Maslen as Jack Branning in EastEnders.
(L-R) James Bye as Martin Fowler, Lacey Turner as Stacey Slater, Diane Parish as Denise Fox, Kim Medcalf as Sam Mitchell, and Scott Maslen as Jack Branning in EastEnders. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Bye also has teased the potential for a romantic reunion with his second ex-wife Stacey, with both characters now single after Stacey's boyfriend Kheerat Panesar was sent to prison.

However, the actor is also keen to address the fate of Martin's third ex-wife Ruby Allen who was sent to prison in 2021 but, unbeknownst to Martin was pregnant at the time.

Martin will be off-screen temporarily as the character takes work in Turkey for a few weeks but, in his absence, Lily's biological father Ryan Malloy (Neil McDermott) will return to Walford. What will Martin think about this when he returns?

Finally, Stacey also features in the dramatic new trailer that has aired to tease the upcoming anniversary week for EastEnders from 20th February 2023.

Additional reporting by Helen Daly.

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