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Don Gilet (Lucas Johnson, 'EastEnders')

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Don Gilet (Lucas Johnson, 'EastEnders')
EastEnders' man of the cloth Lucas Johnson - played by 41-year-old Don Gilet - prepares to marry his childhood sweetheart Denise Wicks (Diane Parish) next week, but in true soapland style, their special day doesn't go without a hitch. With Denise's ex-husband Owen Turner (Lee Ross) sniffing around Walford, Lucas attempts to force him out of the area but Owen's persistent and becomes increasingly curious about Lucas's involvement in his late wife Trina's (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) death. Frustrated by Owen's ongoing interference, Lucas decides to take matters into his own hands. Here, we chat to Don about his screen counterpart's impending nuptials and the major wedding day story twist. Be warned, though, huge spoiler ahoy!

Lucas is quite a confusing creature, isn't he?
"That's nice to hear - I suppose that makes him attractive in the right sense. He's a very good character to play because of his complexity. I think that's partly because he's a guy who always strives to do the right thing but his path for doing that gets warped as time goes on. I think his heart started off in the right place but - partly because of his drug-addled years - he has a slightly warped outlook on life."

Is he bad through and through?
"On the surface it doesn't seem that bad and he thinks he's got a good moral sense of right and wrong but if you push through and try to find what's at the kernel of who he is, you'll probably find a very angry character. He's got a lot of rage in him and he's using God as a kind of anger management that kicks him on the right track. When he has problems and his world is threatened - something he's worked so hard for over the years and he's an upstanding member of the community, people look to him and respect him - when that's threatened, when people like Trina come back into his life, it's his past returning. That's when the complexity comes in."

Lucas has turned into quite the controversial character…
"I think it's a case of, 'Does he practice what he preaches?' He has this moral standpoint of not having sex before marriage and yet there's still that carnal side of him that gave in to sex with his estranged wife. There's still very much a red-blooded male in him that he's constantly at odds with. He said in one of his speeches a long time ago - during the whole issue with Patrick - that he's trying to deal with these demons on a daily basis and he's only human. There are times when that human and carnal side to him, the side that gives in to temptation, is going to come through. As time goes on, that strong moral side to him starts to chip away and this chink of darkness starts to show and unravel. It's a Pandora's box, in a way."

Do you think he actually loves Denise or is she just helping him to keep up appearances?
"It's not quite as superficial as that but she's the good woman he thinks he should have. It's not quite as simple as a token wife. She's a strong woman and she's his rock, so if those two can survive, they can take on the world. The past life he had with Trina, she wasn't a reliable person to be with and that didn't help him. He's found a woman who's strong-willed, strong-minded, a good mother to their shared child and to Libby and Jordan. It's kind of ideal and he's worked so hard for it. Nothing, but nothing, should stop that - he deserves to have this. It's one of these situations where he likes the idea that he's earned this relationship. That seems to be more of a priority than the pure love he has for her. He loves what he's earned and he's now this respectable person who wants to hold on to what he has by any means necessary."

How does wedding week start?
"Everything's kind of going to plan, except Owen's there, the thorn in his side. Owen's chipping away more and more and is realising that Trina's death isn't as cut and dried as the police made out - it wasn't accidental. That's what makes the Owen character interesting, too - these two alpha males sizing each other up. When they lock horns, it's because of something they sense in each other. Both are recovering addicts but they're eying each other up as if to say, 'Who's really recovered and reformed and who's just talking the talk?' They're both very suspicious of each other and neither believes the other is truly reformed. I think time will tell that it's clearly Lucas who's not a complete good guy anymore. But you also wonder about Owen and the things that he needs - he needs desperately this forgiveness and you wonder what's going to happen if he doesn't get it."

How does the week rumble on for them?
"I think what Owen does is start to expose Lucas for what he really is. The jury is out - for me - when they finally come to blows and he finally kills Owen. Does he do it because Owen was about to expose him to everyone else? Or is it because of what he's exposed of Lucas to himself? Owen holds a mirror up to Lucas and that's what causes him to fly into a rage. Lucas clearly doesn't want to see himself for what he is. Nothing is going to get in the way of him and this wedding."

Where does Lucas go from here?
"I really don't know. Using common sense you feel there's a natural end to certain things - there's an arc of a story - and you think how long can you get away with this? Is there more to him? Is he likely to do this again? Those questions haven't been revealed to me yet, so I don't know but I'm quite happy to take one day at a time. At some point they'll have to tell me how far he goes but until they do that I'm on the crest of this complex and evil wave so I'm having fun with it."

> Click here to read more from Don Gilet in Soap Scoop

Additional reporting by Philippa Warr Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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