EastEnders icon reminisces on Sylvie Carter role ahead of new theatre project

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Sylvie Carter was in EastEnders from 2014 until the character died in 2017. As the mother of Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) and Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White), her time on the Square was packed with drama, and fans of the BBC soap will remember Sylvie’s devastating battle with dementia. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, actress Linda, 81, detailed her time in EastEnders while explaining her role in Hoxton Street, a theatre adaptation of a London soap.

Hoxton Street breaks the mould of traditional theatre, with the episodes presented as a series of half-hour acts, creating a full-length play over five weeks in collaboration with the audiences.

Talking about how she became involved in the play, Linda explained: “I met Karena Johnson, the artistic director of Hoxton, when I went to the venue to propose mounting my solo show No Fear ahead of lockdown.

“It was postponed three times, but it ran last year.

“Hoxton Street was devised in the first year of the lockdown and I was part of the rehearsed reading on Zoom – so it has been a long process.

“Once it got the green light I was struggling to find time within my schedule to be part of the show, but Karena wrote a cameo role within the show so I could continue to be part of the project.”

The live soap drama is presented in a series of instalments, and are packed full of life, laughter, and betrayal.

The audience also has their say by voting on double cliffhangers at the end of each episode to decide the direction of the next.

Reflecting on her time in her previous soap, EastEnders, Linda recalled: “There were so many good storylines, but one of my favourites had to be when my character Sylvie was in a care home and her sister Babe Smith played by Annette Badland came to visit her.

“They both had a big fight and it ended up with Sylvie biting her on her shoulder.  

“Another great moment was when Sylvie was enticed into a lake by her sister and Sylvie arrived back at the Vic Pub dripping with water – it was a fantastic EastEnders moment!”

The actress admitted the role was also a tough one due to Sylvie’s storylines.

“Sylvie Carter was a great part with a colourful backstory which attracted me to take it on.

“Getting to explore the storylines of her being missing for 30 years and developing dementia was a challenge.”

When asked if she is still in touch with fellow cast members of the BBC soap, she replied: “I kept in contact with the wonderful Annette Badland who I shared the screen with often.

“We knew each other prior to performing on the show. 

“I also kept in contact with Harry Reid (former Ben Mitchell) who I never had many lines with, but we have remained good friends!”

The actress continued: “Sylvie was really off the wall, she had brilliantly different colours to her personality and it’s a great part to play.

“You don’t often get to play a role where you can sometimes be monstrous and sometimes wickedly wonderful.

“It was great to be able to explore the role for such a long time.”

EastEnders continues on Wednesday at 7.30pm, while Hoxton Street is running until May 28.

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