‘Paul needs to gain Ben’s trust,’ says Enders’ Jonny Labey. So why is he sneaking around?

Paul’s hiding his relationship with Ben …but what’s his granddad, Les, hiding? That’s what Paul wants to know, reveals EastEnders’ Jonny Labey

New Ender Paul Coker is making waves in Albert Square. He’s got Ben Mitchell all hot under the collar, and he’s causing ructions in the Coker household… because he believes his grandfather, Les, is cheating on his grandmother, Pam, with Claudette. “And Paul lets Claudette’s son Vincent (Richard Blackwood) know what he thinks is going on,” says Jonny. “Whether he’ll do anything about it, I don’t know…”

Could Paul and Ben (Harry Reid) be a real love story?
“It’s difficult for Paul as he’s new to the Square, and what’s at the forefront of his mind is seeing Les and Claudette together. At the moment, Paul’s enjoying Ben’s company and he respects the fact he has a girlfriend and he’s having a difficult time getting to grips with his sexuality. Their relationship needs to be a slow burner. Paul needs to gain Ben’s trust and wait for him to feel comfortable with who he is and who he’s with. He needs to know Paul will be there for him.”

How is Paul getting on with Pam (Lin Blakley) and Les?
“It’s a bit difficult because their son is dead and they’d like Paul to be part of Coker & Sons. They come up with this idea of using his hair-dressing skills in the business, but the whole thing backfires. There’s also the issue of Les [Roger Sloman] and Claudette [Ellen Thomas]. There’s a secret there and Paul suspects they’re having an affair.”

Are they?
“You’ll have to wait and see, but you’ve actually been fed the information for months without even realising it!”

How have you found your first few months on the show?
“It’s been crazy and I’ve had an amazing response from viewers, which is good. The first week was incredible. I did a crying scene, an argument, a kissing scene and a topless scene. It was like doing an entire contract in the space of a week!”

Do you get recognised in the street now?
“Yes, a girl sat on my lap on the tube the other day to take a selfie. That was a bit bizarre but I didn’t mind. It’s lovely to be recognised.”

EastEnders, BBC1