EastEnders star Sid Owen has revealed that he cried for real while filming the funeral of his screen dad Frank Butcher.
Speaking to The Sun Sid – who is returning to the soap as Ricky Butcher – revealed that when the scenes were shot he was still grieving for Mike Reid, who died of a heart attack last summer, and that the fictional funeral had a profound effect on him.
“Normally when the camera’s not rolling you have a laugh,” he said, “but this was different,” he said.
“For me and some of the actors who were close to Mike, like Barbara Windsor, who plays Peggy, and Pam St Clement, who plays Pat, it was different because it was real life, it happened.It was our way of saying goodbye to Mike.”
The soap’s producers wrote Frank’s funeral into the script as a way of paying tribute to Reid.
Actresses Sophie Lawrence and Charlie Brooks, who played Frank’s daughters Diane and Janine, also return for the funeral scenes, which Sid described as “overwhelming”.
“When we did the scenes inside the church,” he added they played a Frank Sinatra song and I got really choked up. There wasn’t any acting needed.”
Sid will be staying on in EastEnders, while actress Patsy Palmer, who played his screen wife Bianca, is also returning.