bowing out | 

Actor Danny Dyer goes ‘full circle’ leaving EastEnders at Christmas after nine years

Embargoed to 0001 Saturday December 20 For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only. BBC undated handout photo of Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) and Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) as EastEnders star Bright has revealed that love will win out in Linda and Mick Carter's marriage, despite the Christmas episode rape revelation.© PA

Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) and Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) in EastEnders© PA

By Ellie Iorizzo, PA Senior Entertainment ReporterPA Media

Danny Dyer said “not in a million years” did he think he would have lasted almost a decade playing Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter on EastEnders.

The 45-year-old actor joined the cast of the BBC One soap on Christmas Day in 2013, shortly followed by his on-screen wife Linda Carter played by Kellie Bright.

After appearing in 1150 episodes, Dyer is scheduled to leave the soap on Christmas Day this year, with dramatic teaser scenes of his character chasing his betrothed Janine Butcher out of Albert Square.

Dyer said: “It’s very emotional for me, I’m very attached to this show. It’s been a third of my career.

“30 years I’ve been knocking about in our industry and for nearly 10 I’ve been in this show and to make the decision I made, I didn’t make it lightly because it’s a huge job to walk away from and I thought long and hard about it and I just wanted it to be a fitting end. So hopefully it is.

“What I will say about that (Christmas Day) episode is it’s definitely about love and relationships.

“We’ve done a lot of Christmas episodes over the years – we came in at Christmas. It’s an intense process and it’s tough, but when you get the right dialogue and the right material, it’s such a beautiful thing, that you’re reaching a lot of people and that’s a massive platform.”

Dyer said TV producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins “took a risk” hiring him to appear on the show almost a decade ago.

Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) and Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) in EastEnders© PA

“I didn’t think I’d last nine years. I came into the show and I was a car crash, I can’t believe I got given a shot,” he said.

“I mean my career was on it’s arse. I’ve said this before, I was going to nightclubs waving off a balcony and saying hello to people to pay my f***ing mortgage.

“I’d made a lot of bad decisions, I was in a bad place. Dominic Treadwell-Collins took a risk on me and Kellie, although Kellie was a bit more well-behaved than me.

“We came in together and we was always on trial to start, a new family to take over the Vic. We just got our heads down…and we loved it. We loved the material, we loved the characters.

“I didn’t think I’d last as long as nine years, not in a million years.”

Bright, 46, revealed she had screen-tested for her part with a different actor who “wasn’t very good” and it wasn’t until she went for a secret photoshoot that she discovered it was Dyer who got the part.

Reminiscing on their time together on the show, Dyer said a highlight was during when they were filming a scene absconding from a wedding and a “chicken fillet” fell out of Bright’s top.

The actress said: “I came into the show and I can remember having a very early conversation with a producer saying ‘Listen you can’t have this story about Linda being an ex-page three girl. I’d love to do it but I’ve got no boobs’.

“So I adopted for Linda a little extra bosom to try and sell the fact that I could have been once a page three girl so right from the beginning I’ve always worn chicken fillets in my bra.”

The pair said their ability to laugh at the faux-pas highlighted how close they became on the show.

Bright said: “It is a life shared, nine years playing husband and wife is almost like nine years being husband and wife on a show like EastEnders because you do see this person daily and they go through your real life events with you.

“Danny was at my wedding, he’s gone through IVF with me, there’s stuff that we’ve shared it makes saying goodbye very hard.

“I didn’t do well, I cried basically from sort of July until November when he eventually left.”

During his time on the show, Dyer has had 117 doof-doofs, welcomed the-then Prince Charles and his wife Camilla to Albert Square and starred in a spin-off series with documentary maker Stacey Dooley.

Dyer, who stole a stool from the Queen Vic on his last day of filming, spoke about his EastEnders leaving party which he described as “really beautiful”.

He added: “I was questioning if I’d made the right decision. There was a lot of love for me in the room and there was a part of me that just wanted to duck out because it was emotional for me, so I thought it’d probably be easier just to leave at the back door.

“But actually Kellie organised something and I’m glad that we did it.”

Dyer’s breakout role was as Moff in the cult 1999 film Human Traffic, followed by parts in Mean Machine and The Football Factory.

In 2019 he made his debut as a game show host, presenting BBC show The Wall.

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