Shaun Williamson has confessed he had to put a lot more effort into his new role as a villain in The Bill.

The ex-EastEnders star – who played softie Barry Evans – will shortly be appearing as a gangster in the ITV1 police drama and admits being a bad guy does not come naturally.

Shaun told the TV Times: “There are some people who are great as villains, like Ray Winstone; there’s just something tough about him. But I have to put a bit more work in.”

But added: “I’d love the chance to play more villains!”

In the two-part special, the 43-year-old actor plays Dave Monks, the head of a family of criminals who police suspect are involved in an international drug-trafficking ring.

Shaun revealed: “Monks has a respectable business which is a front for the cocaine he’s shipping in. He also has two sons he’s grooming to take over the drug smuggling.”

Shaun, who also appeared in the hit BBC comedy Extras, loved the chance to catch up with some of his former co-stars who have moved onto The Bill, but found it difficult working with Lucy Speed, who played Barry’s wife Natalie in the BBC soap.

He said: “It was wonderful to catch up with Lucy Speed, Roberta Taylor, Gillian Taylforth; they’re all lovely. I was originally offered a different part, but the producers realised I’d have an unhealthy amount of scenes with Lucy!

“They then came back with this part, which I think is better, so I was very lucky.”

Shaun can be seen in The Bill on Tuesday August 19 at 8pm on ITV1.