We may all have been shocked when EastEnders’ Steven lunged in for a snog with Christian – but Christian wasn’t, says John Partridge, who plays him.
Has Christian known about Steven’s sexuality for long?
“Christian knew Steven was gay from the outset. He noticed Steven had tendencies that he himself had as a young man – and his gaydar is very good!”
Why is he so keen to ‘out’ Steven?
“Christian didn’t ask to be kissed by Steven but now that it’s happened he wants the boy to admit that he’s gay. He basically wants to help him. Steven doesn’t want to be gay and Christian knows how he feels. Coming out is hard for any young man.”
Steven keeps trying to prove himself by courting Stacey. Isn’t it a bit cruel of Christian to tell her that Steven’s gay?
“Well, I think he’s worried that Stacey is going to get hurt. He knows that when you’re gay, you’re gay. That’s it. There’s nothing you can do about it and if you try to hide it, people get hurt.”
But Christian can be a bit of a stirrer, can’t he?
“Yes, Christian likes to get out his wooden spoon and stir things up a bit, but what he’s really trying to do by telling Stacey is to let Steven know that he understands and that he can talk to him about it.”
So what happens next?
“Christian takes him in and gives Steven a drink and they have a heart to heart. Christian really wants to guide Steven through his turmoil.”
But Steven takes his concern the wrong way and makes a move on him. Is this what Christian wants?
“No. Christian doesn’t fancy Steven. He’s only a boy and Christian’s 36. But it’s not just an age thing – Steven is emotionally immature.”
Steven then tearfully tells Ian and Jane that Christian made a move on him. How worried should Christian be?
“Very worried. Christian realises that Steven is a loose cannon and he doesn’t trust him. If this gets out, it won’t look good for Christian. Jane might believe him over Steven, but we all know Ian’s views on homosexuality.”
It sounds like a controversial plot. Were you worried about taking it on?
“I knew this storyline was coming and, to be honest, I was worried about it. A gay man having any sort of relationship with an 18-year-old boy is a bit contentious. However, I think it has been handled really well.”