EastEnders’ Shane Richie tells Soaplife about the phone call that changes desperate arsonist Alfie’s life – the one he gets from Kat, telling him she’s inside the house he’s just set fire to!

How desperate is Alfie?

“Alfie has lied about getting a bank loan and he’s lied about money he said he was getting. He’s lost his job thanks to Aleks [Kristian Kiehling]; he’s been let down for another job and he’s about to lose his house, so this is the last line of defence.”

How does he start the fire?

“He sets fire to the bin in the living-room. He thinks he’ll have to get the painters and decorators in afterwards and will make a few grand out of the insurers. However, he doesn’t realise that Mo [Laila Morse] has left a load of hairspray in the house, which causes an explosion.”

How does he find out that Kat is still in the house?

“Alfie is off to play cards at Phil’s and Kat calls him. She wants him to come home. The phone gets cut off. He looks at the house and all the smoke and realises she’s inside. He’s now starting to wonder if the twins are there, too, along with Tommy, Mo and Stacey [Lacey Turner]. He tears back and when he gets to the house there’s an explosion.”

But he does save Kat…

“Alfie is in the house, terrified that the people he loves are in danger and he doesn’t realise that other people have gone in after him. There was one scene where the actual framework of the door went up in flames and the real firemen had to come in! It was very hot. Filming the fire was good fun – I wanted to hear the Indiana Jones music!”

Did you do the stunts yourself?

“I had a stunt double. He looked so much like me that when he was standing next to people, they were like, ‘Oh my God, it’s Alfie’.”

What will Alfie do if Kat dies?

“He wouldn’t be able to go on. Obviously, that wasn’t in the plan. He thinks he’s doing the right thing. He does a bad thing for the right reasons. You look back at everything Kat [Jessie Wallace] and Alfie have been through and now here they are, they’ve got their twins and Tommy and can ride off into the sunset. Then Alfie does this and is on the verge of ruining everything…”

EastEnders continues on BBC1. Click here for dates and times.