David Essex talks to TV Times magazine about his extraordinary career and his latest chapter – working in Albert Square…

Is it true you were originally going to join six years ago?
“Yes, as Honey’s father – but in the end I did an album and then I had a rock tour to do, and it kind of clashed. And also, the character that we talked about wasn’t as interesting as this one. I think we would’ve made something out of it, but there’s much more texture and weight to this.”

Looking back what has been the highlight of your career?
“The highlight of my career – apart from this – was an extraordinary period in 1973. I’d just finished my first film, That’ll Be The Day; that was the hottest thing to go and see, I was coming to the end of Godspell, and I’d written and recorded Rock On, and that was number one, worldwide. So I had the three mediums, all incredibly successful.”

Do you think you have been lucky?
“My autobiography – which was number one, I’ll just drop that in! – was called A Charmed Life, and I feel I’ve had that. I’ve never felt that what I do and what I am is more important than anybody else, honestly, and I’m not saying that to sound humble or full of humility. I feel very lucky that I’m able to do the things I do, but I don’t think I’m any more worthy than, say, a plumber or electrician. And that’s basically been the way I feel about things.”

Your initial stint in EastEnders runs until August. Do you think you will return after that?
“I don’t know yet; it depends what we decide Eddie’s going to do. I’m looking forward to touring, and it looks like there’s going to be a film next year, which will be interesting. And there’s another film which is about boxing that I’m supposed to do. So there are certain things pulling me out of EastEnders, but emotionally, I’m here.”

David Essex debuts in EastEnders on Monday June 6 at 8pm on BBC1.