Ex EastEnder Paul Nicholls stars in The Fear (Mon-Thurs), Channel 4’s new four-part drama about a crime boss whose business empire and memory are in rapid decline…

Tell us about your character, Cal?
“Cal’s kind of all over the place from start to finish. Basically, Cal and his brother Matty (Harry Lloyd) have been running the family business for their father Richie Beckett (Peter Mullan). Cal’s not mature at all. He’s just been riding on the Beckett name and thinks he can behave how he wants.”

Is Cal trying to impress his dad?
“Yes. Richie’s regarded as a legend and Cal wants to emulate him and make him proud. Cal really just wants his father to notice him, so he goes about getting attention the only way he can…”

So, Cal’s a bit reckless then?
“He’s completely unmanageable! While Matty’s the more intelligent one, Cal just makes a show of everything. He puffs out his chest and gives it the big ‘I am’, but always messes up. And, straight away, he has to go running to Daddy to bail him out.”

Is that when the Beckett sons become involved with an Albanian gang?
“Yes. Cal doesn’t understand the scale of what he’s got his family involved in. But this is a ruthless gang… they don’t play by the rules.”

Did Cal not realise he was getting in over his head?
“Cal’s a fantasist. In his mind, he thinks he can do these things but, when the reality kicks in, he crumbles.”

As a turf war breaks out, Richie’s also battling with early onset dementia. How do Matty and Cal deal with Richie’s illness?
“They both deal with it in very different ways, which is what leads to them falling out. Cal is very suspicious, jealous and resentful of Matty.”

But is Cal all bad?
“He’s very childlike and, although there’s no substance to him inside, it’s obvious he’s just screaming out for something. He’s screaming out for his dad.”

The Fear is shown over four nights from December x at 10pm on Channel 4.