EastEnders' Thomas Law on Peter Beale return, The Bay exit, and Cindy secrets
Peter Beale is finally back in Walford - and played once again by The Bay star Thomas Law.
The episodes revealed that Peter was now living in France with his dad Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and his mother Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) who he now knows is alive following her going into a witness protection programme in 1998.
Next week on the soap, Peter will return to Walford after discovering in France that Cindy had another family during her time in hiding and that Peter has two half-sisters: Gina (Francesca Henry) and Anna Knight (Molly Rainford).
Keeping this discovery a secret at Ian's urging, Peter returns to Albert Square alone to meet his new family members and reunites with half-brother Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell) who has since learned that their nan Kathy Cotton (Gillian Tayforth) is planning on selling the family chip shop.
How will Peter behave when he's back in Walford and will everyone be keen to see him back?
In a new interview, actor Thomas Law has revealed to RadioTimes.com and other press how it feels for Peter Beale to return to Albert Square and what he thinks about having two new sisters.
Firstly, welcome back! How does it feel to return to the Square? How did you react when you got the call and when the idea was first pitched to you and how did it come about?
"Getting the call was very cool, I was absolutely beaming and I just wanted to get started immediately."
How tough was it keeping the secret of your return as well as the Cindy return?
"I was filming another job at the time so keeping it a secret was ok, as I couldn’t tell anyone I was working with there. When you’re working on these jobs, you don’t really get to socialise much anyway. My mum and sister both work at EastEnders so they found out two weeks into me knowing as they heard a few whispers which they of course had to keep a secret too."
Was it easy to slip back into the character after so long? Has Peter changed much since he’s been away?
"It was easier in a way because they wanted to show, a more mature and put-together side of Peter this time around.
"I played Peter for such a long time so I felt like I really knew him but Adam and Michelle made it easy for me to get back into the role too as I had to harness onto the fact that Peter just really loves his mum and dad. That was pretty easy for me to do because I do love them both.
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"That’s not to say that I wasn’t nervous on the first day on set but all my nerves went away when I started to work with them."
What has it been like to work with Michelle and Adam? How was it filming those secret scenes? What’s the best thing about having them as a TV mum and dad?
"It’s just great. I’ve never worked with Michelle before as she had gone by the time I joined but working with her now is such a treat. She’s so strong at what she does and it really shows when we’re on set – she’ll pull me aside to run a scene before we film which I love as everyone will then feel comfortable when filming.
"Adam is like a second dad to me so I’m loving working with him again – I’m a bit taller than him now so he has to get on his tiptoes!"
You have been busy honing your craft with roles in theatre, TV and film since leaving EastEnders – what do you feel you’ve learnt in this time that you will now bring to the role?
"Yes absolutely, any experience I’ve had from other jobs has made me come back here confident in my craft, my choices and decision-making.
"If you can work at EastEnders, you can work anywhere. I’d heard that a few times actually but it’s true – the experience I got here before going out into the world is unrivalled and I’m so grateful for all of that time and experience I had from the age of 12 to 18."
The Bay fans really loved your character, was it a tough decision not to return to that show?
"It was really hard to leave as I loved the cast and crew of The Bay and I felt my character was in a great position I feel very fortunate to have had both opportunities and coming back to EastEnders feels like coming home."
Which existing characters do you think Peter might be a good link with in terms of friendships or romances? Is there anyone you would be keen to work with too that you haven’t yet?
"I think he’ll always have a bit of a bromance with Jay because I grew up with him anyway and I think there’s hopefully some storylines we could explore.
"Personally, I’ve got quite close with Danny Walters [who plays Keanu Taylor] and Tony Clay [who plays Callum Highway] so it would be good to work with them.
"In all honesty, I’m excited to see what they throw my way and I’ll be there ready to film. I love working with Michelle and Gillian Taylforth."
Peter’s back in the Square! What brings him back to Walford?
"He goes back to the Square in quite a hurry as he’s been gifted what he perceives to be the greatest gift – having more family. He’s lost so many of his family over his lifetime so a chance that he can have more sisters is a good enough reason for him to travel back."
How would you describe Peter and Bobby’s brotherly bond? What’s Peter’s reaction to see Bobby again?
"I think Bobby’s slightly confused to see Peter at first but Peter is really happy to see him and be back, although slightly nervous too as he knows he’s messed Bobby, Kathy and Rocky up."
Over in France, Ian reveals Peter has two sisters – Gina and Anna. Can you tease how Peter finds out and how he feels knowing he’s now got two sisters? Do you think he wants to build a relationship with them?
"I think any opportunity to have more family he’ll grab with both hands so he’s keen to build a good relationship with them."
Peter agrees to not tell Cindy that Ian deleted the messages from Anna. Do you think he feels guilty from hiding this from his mum?
"Definitely and I think something I tried to make clear when filming was to get across how much Peter loves his mum, who he thought he had lost. So the fact Ian made Peter lie to her is more telling of Ian’s character. The lie really tears Peter up, but he understands he has to listen to his dad."
At the Vic, Gina reveals Bobby is smitten with Anna. How does Peter feel about this?
"I think he’s aware of what might come so he doesn’t want Bobby to get involved but we all know what it’s like when you know someone in love, you can’t do much to persuade them."
What feedback have you had from the viewers or fans so far?
"I had some really love messages after that first episode, so I feel very lucky to have had such a nice response so far.
"I think people are really happy for Cindy, Ian and Peter to be back so it’s nice to know people really care about the Beales. To be brought back with Michelle and Adam is really special."
Finally, what can you tease coming up for Peter over the next few weeks? What can fans be excited for? What can you say about how Kathy and Peter will reunite?
"He aims to do quite a lot of selfless acts in order to get his family back, bring them closer together and build bridges but unfortunately, everywhere he turns, he’s burning those bridges down.
"You can expect him to try and make a good happy life around him but whether he actually succeeds is a real mystery – does he end up making things worse? You’ll have to wait and see!"
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EastEnders airs Mondays to Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One and from 6am on BBC iPlayer. Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.
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