Paul Nicholls says he has few memories of his time in EastEnders.

The actor, 32, who has joined the cast of Law And Order: UK, was a household name thanks to his role as the troubled Joe Wicks in the soap, which he joined at the age of 16.

“I can’t really remember it. It’s really weird. I remember driving to work and being on set a few times, but if I ever look back now, it’s just blank,” he said.

“I just can’t really remember being in it. I do recall coming out of EastEnders and the attention dying down 50 per cent in the first six months, and then a couple of years later it was 95 per cent.”

Paul quit the soap after two years and went straight into the TV series City Central, but asked for his character to be written out, saying afterwards in an interview: “I was well on my way to a total breakdown. I was drinking a lot and taking drugs. I had lost control of my life.”

In the new series of Law And Order: UK, Paul plays DS Sam Casey, a man who the actor said “lets his heart rule his head”.

Law And Order: UK is on ITV1 on Friday nights.