Former Enders star Dean Gaffney talks to Soaplife about returning to EastEnders, panto in Runcorn… and giving up showbusiness!

What are you up to right now?

“I’m in panto. I‘m in Aladdin at the Brindley Theatre in Runcorn, Cheshire. It’s my seventh panto – and six of them have been Aladdin.”

Do you play the title role?

“I have done once, but I’m usually Wishy Washy, Aladdin’s brother. I am this year, too. I prefer playing Wishy Washy because he’s funny and you get a lot of involvement with the audience. When you’re Aladdin, you don’t get to do much apart from standing there and looking pretty. Wishy Washy definitely suits me better.”

Is panto hard work?

“There are obviously worse jobs, but it is quite gruelling as in six weeks you only get a couple of days off and there are often two shows a day.”

What have you got lined up when Aladdin finishes?

“I don’t know yet. But that’s what it’s like in this business. You never know what might happen next. I’ve got fingers in a few pies. I might go and run a hotel in Ibiza or start a business out there.”

And quit showbiz?

“Acting for a living is so hard. One year you’re hot, hot, hot. The next you’re not, not, not! I’ve survived 23 great years in this business, but who knows how long it will go on for? I sold a house recently and I have a bit of money in the bank, so fortunately I don’t have to rush into anything.”

What if EastEnders called on you?

“Well, they did this year and that wasn’t on the cards 12 months ago. I was only in the show for eight episodes this time around, but I couldn’t get over how much fuss was made in the media about Robbie’s return. That was nice. It made me feel he was part of the fabric of Albert Square.”

Is there a chance you could make another EastEnders return?

“It’s obviously up to the writers and the producers, but I think it’s feasible that Robbie could go back to Walford. He’s only in Milton Keynes, after all, it’s not like he’s gone back to India. I’d like to see him return with a gorgeous woman on his arm and plenty of money in the bank!”