Ex-EastEnders star Charlie Brooks chats about her new stage role and about those rumours that she’s on her way back to Albert Square…
Charlie Brooks – Janine Butcher in EastEnders – is on tour in the new comedy Monogamy…
What’s the story?
There were recent reports in the press that actress Charlie Brooks had said she wanted to return to Albert Square and play the iconic Janine Butcher again. But Charlie tells us that, sadly, it’s not true. “I was asked about returning to EastEnders and I just said what I always say when the subject comes up…” she says as she prepares for her new role in the stage play, Monogamy.
“That who knows what the future holds and that I’ll never say never. But my words were twisted to read as if I was desperate to return. That’s not true – but, you know, ‘Never say never!'”
The next best thing to seeing Janine return to Walford must surely be to go and see Charlie in her new play!
Former EastEnders star Charlie Brooks chats to Soaplife about her new stage role…
Soaplife: Tell us about Monogamy, Charlie…
Charlie Brooks: “It’s a new play exploring people and their relationships, how we’re affected by our partners and why and how we feel anxious about the future. It’s set in the kitchen of a celebrity chef called Caroline Mortimer and it’s a look at what happens behind closed doors when the cameras are switched off.”
S: Are you playing Caroline?
CB: “No, my character is a woman called Sally, who’s married to a guy called Mike and he’s a builder, doing some work at Caroline’s house. Sally’s had a tough life. She’s on medication for anxiety and she’s struggling to manage. Then she finds out her husband is having an affair with Caroline! Sally’s never met her, but she has seen her on TV…”
S: You’ve been doing lots of theatre over the past few years, haven’t you?
CB: “Yes. I’ve played Dusty Springfield on stage, I was in A Street Car Named Desire and, most recently, the Alan Ayckbourn play, How the Other Half Loves. I finished that just before Christmas, so I’ve had a few months off. That’s a good and a bad thing. It’s lovely to spend time with friends and family but I’m so much better when I’m working. I like having a routine.
S: What do you enjoy about appearing live on stage?
CB: “Oh, so many things. I love meeting new people in a production and taking on a new challenge. The rehearsal process is so good – when you get to know your play and your character, then being up there on stage, you get to be in charge of your own ship – so to speak. It’s live, there’s no one to edit your performance and I get such a sense of freedom. That’s not to say it’s not nerve-wracking and terrifying, but it’s exhilarating, too.”
S: What about the touring aspect?
CB: “I do miss being away from home when I’m on tour, but this is for five weeks and I can get home each night for three of those weeks. Then we’re in London at the Park Theatre for a month from early June. When I’m away from home and in a new city, it’s great to explore a new place as I do my morning run.”
S: Last time we spoke, you mentioned your daughter, Kiki, has inherited your acting bug!
CB: “That’s right. Kiki is 13 now – about the same age I was when I started acting properly – and it’s certainly what she’s interested in doing at the moment. She’s just landed a great role in her school production, which she’s very pleased about. She loves performing and I’ll encourage her all the way if that’s what she wants to do.”
S: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
CB: “I read loads and I listen to lots of audio books. I like mixing it up and keeping it varied.”
S: Do you watch much TV?
CB: “Like most people, I love a box set. What have I enjoyed recently? Oh yes, Billions – the US drama series about a hedge fund manager and insider trading, starring Damian Lewis. I thought that was brilliant.”
S: Would you like to do more TV?
CB: “A costume drama would be wonderful. I did Bleak House some years ago and I’d love to do something similar. Playing a real-life character in something gritty would be good, too.”
Main pic: James Shaw/REX/Shutterstock