EastEnders’ Sam Strike says ‘something happens that forces Johnny to change course’

EastEnders‘ Sam Strike tells Soaplife that after one fight too many with his mum, Johnny plucks up the courage to pack his bags and leaves home.

The soap gods are not on Johnny’s side right now. Minutes after landing the job of bar manager at The Albert, his boss Sharon was brutally attacked – while terrified Johnny hid. Then he finds out he’s failed his university exams – and his mum Linda wades in and gives his tutor a ticking off. It’s all too much for the sensitive lad, who packs his bags and leaves Walford. “He wants to cut the apron strings and grow up. If he leaves, his mum won’t be watching him 24/7,” Sam explains to Soaplife. But will Linda let him go?

How bad does Johnny feel about hiding while Sharon was attacked?
“He feels insignificant for not doing anything. What’s worse is that people assumed that he helped and he didn’t correct them. He thinks it’s entirely his fault that Sharon was attacked. He believes that if any other member of his family had been there, it wouldn’t have happened.”

And when the truth came out, his mum made him feel worse by fussing over him…
“Johnny keeps going on about how he wants to handle everything himself because he’s grown up, but he couldn’t be honest when the attack happened. Linda’s smothering him and that’s annoying. It’s hard for Johnny because everyone in his family is tough apart from him. He’s a gentle, introverted and quiet person.”

She’s still fussing when Johnny admits he’s failed his exams. How does that news go down?
“The family has always banged on about how he’s the only Carter to go to university, so when he fails he has a difficult time telling people. He doesn’t find it easy to come to terms with himself.”

Does he know that Linda goes to see his university lecturer?
“Not until his tutor calls him and explains that his mother has been to visit. Johnny doesn’t take kindly to it. Apparently, she barged in and said, ‘You must have marked it wrong. My son can’t have failed, check it again!’”

And when Johnny finds out, he stitches Linda up, doesn’t he?
“Yes. He encourages her to sing on the karaoke machine, knowing she can’t sing, and she gets booed. Then they argue. He says some really vicious things to her.”

What makes him decide to leave?
“It’s partly because he has been so vile to Linda, he can’t look her in the eye any more. Also, because he wants to grow up and strike out on his own.”

Has he got a plan?
“No, it is all spontaneous. He doesn’t tell anyone he’s going, he just leaves.”

Will he be back?
“I hope so. All I can tell is you is that something happens that forces him to change course. It’s good!”

EastEnders, BBC. Click here for listings details.

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