Exclusive: Q&A with Bryan Kirkwood
Charlotte recently caught up with Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood to ask him some quickfire questions about the show.
Having been at EastEnders for a while now, how have you found the experience of working on the show?
The last year has been an immensely rewarding experience, with plenty of highs and a few lows!
What has been your favourite storyline over the past 12 months?
I'm not being controversial when I say that the Kat & Ronnie baby swap story remains very dear to my heart. I acknowledge that some of the audience found some elements a tough watch, however for me it delivered an un-missable plot with best-ever performances from Sam, Jessie, Shane and Scott.
A number of new characters will be making their debut over the summer. Are you able to tell us anything about them?
Tyler and Anthony will be joining their dad, Eddie. They will bring a much-needed shot of youthful testosterone to the show. They're fun, full of energy, and are great additions to the younger cast. Polly Perkins has joined us to play Dot's long-lost half-sister, Rose, and her arrival heralds the next chapter in Dot's time on the show. And I can't wait to have Nicola Stapleton back as Mandy, who will be like a hurricane blowing through Albert Square.
Many of the show's characters in recent years have been strong women (such as Ronnie, Stacey, Tanya & Zainab). There aren't so many commanding male characters, Max and Phil aside. With the arrival of Eddie Moon & his two boys will we see a change in direction on this front?
I think this is a fair point, for me EE is the male-est of the soaps, and with fantastic men like Grant and Den in the past, I really think it's time to redress the balance. Steve John Shepherd is doing brilliant work as Michael, and Eddie, Tyler and Anthony bring more blokey energy to the show.
With Zoe Lucker leaving later in the year, do you wish she had been used more?
It's fair to acknowledge that Zoe has been under-used, but we will see Vanessa come into her own over the coming months.
In a recent interview with Inside Soap, you revealed that Ann Mitchell will be reprising her role as Cora Cross. Can you tell us any more about this?
With the loss of Barbara Windsor, I was keen to find a new matriarch for the show, and Ann Mitchell is a dream booking. I've always been a fan of her work, and with the storyline we've got planned, we'll wonder how we ever did without Cora.
Some viewers have been concerned over the loss of Peter and Lucy Beale from the show and what this means for the future of the Beale family. Do you have any plans for Ian in their continued absence?
For me, Ian remains one of our most important characters, and he's got a huge new story coming soon, which gives him an exciting new direction. Without giving too much away, the Beale family will continue to be at the heart of EastEnders.
We've recently seen Christian and Syed become engaged and looking into the idea of adoption. In a recent interview you revealed that there were plans to make them central to the show, can you tell us more on this?
Christian & Syed are in an exciting place right now. We, the audience, know that Amira's out there, but does she have his child? We've enjoyed talking about this recently, so keep watching.
Finally, with the announcement Coronation Street are planning more weeks with episodes running in the 9pm slot and given your experience with Hollyoaks Later, would you ever consider doing a post watershed edition of EastEnders where more risky material could be shown?
No, we'd never take EastEnders post-watershed. It's established in its time-slot, and personally I wouldn't want to risk alienating any of the audience.