All Creatures Great and Small star Christopher Timothy talks about his new role as EastEnders’ newcomer Ted Murray, who arrives in the Square with his wife, Joyce…

TV actor Christopher Timothy has been around the block, playing a vet in classic 1970s TV drama All Creatures Great and Small and a medic in daytime soap Doctors. But even he was astonished by the warmth of his reception when he turned up for his first day at work at EastEnders.

“Everyone’s been unbelievably welcoming, without exception,” revealed Christopher. “It feels like a family and they’re a great bunch of people.”

Can you tell us a bit about Ted and Joyce?
“Ted’s 80 years old, and he and Joyce are solid in their relationship. They’ve been married for nearly 60 years, so their big anniversary is coming up. They’re very normal and I think they’re hugely identifiable. A lot of people will recognise them and say, ‘Yeah. My uncle so-and-so is like that! Or granddad’s like that, isn’t he?’”

What’s their relationship like?
“They’re quite affectionate and they take the rise out of each other, but that’s what every good marriage is like: there’s a sense of humour underlying the relationship. You have your ups and downs, but actually everything’s fine.”

Who do they run into first when they arrive in Albert Square?
“Sharon’s one of the first people Ted and Joyce meet. They and Dot were neighbours in the flat years ago and, in the first episode, Ted says ‘Guess who lives next door? It’s Dot Cotton!’ Joyce adds, ‘She was always poking her nose in!’”

Is Joyce unhappy about their move to the Square?
“Ted’s worried Joyce isn’t happy about the move. But when you get to a certain age, you do tend to think ‘I don’t want to move. I want to stay here.’ It’s a habit and so the first episode is Ted trying to say, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK.’ Maybe he’s finding it hard, too, but he’s too busy trying to ensure Joyce is all right, so you don’t really know.”

Will you be watching when your first episode goes out?
“I’ll watch it with my wife, Annie, but only because I’ll want Annie to say, ‘Yes, that’s good or why are you doing it like that?’ I haven’t got less nervous as I get older, but I’m really enjoying it.”