Roger Sloman: Kellie Maloney inspired my character
EastEnders star Roger Sloman looked to Kellie Maloney for inspiration when he was preparing for a storyline which sees his character dress as a woman.
The 69-year-old actor portrays Les Coker on the soap, who has been hiding a secret during his time in Albert Square. On Monday (19Oct15) night's episode it was revealed that Les has a female alter ego known as Christine, with Roger serious about preparing for the plot. Although Les has no desire to transition into a woman, Roger found it helpful to look towards Kellie - previously known as boxing promoter Frank Maloney - for help.
"I got Kellie Maloney’s book to read during all this and it was interesting what she went through," he told Britain's The Sun newspaper. “There was one part where Frank was out shopping with his wife and would completely forget himself and pick up clothes, she would look at him and say, ‘What on earth are you doing?’ I found it interesting that he would find himself doing a mannerism that he would do in his female mode and then realise he was doing it as a man."
Roger realised he would need to get a grasp on the "turmoil" his character was going through if he wanted to make the storyline real for fans. Reading about the impact Kellie's transition had on her family was one of the most powerful things for the star, whose character will need to deal with the fallout of his secret being exposed to his loved ones too - including his wife Pam, played by Lin Blakley.
"It was actually heartbreaking to read how he dealt with that, it was the secrecy part of his life and the fact that he had to redefine his role in the family, as the husband and father to something else," Roger said.
The star is looking forward to seeing how the plot is accepted by viewers and is ready for fans to approach him to discuss it when he's out and about. He's hopeful most will be accepting, although if he does get any harsh words Roger is prepared. His view is that anyone who is rude has issues themselves, so it won't affect him.
"It’s a real opportunity to make people think," he said. "Maybe someone going through what Les is will be watching at home with his wife and be able to start talking about it."
- Cover Media