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'EastEnders' Charlie G Hawkins on Darren's cheating, departure and more: Interview

By
Charlie G Hawkins

© BBC

EastEnders bids farewell to Darren Miller next week as he departs Walford for a fresh start.

Plagued with guilt after stealing from the car lot and sleeping with Lauren, Darren makes the surprising decision to call off his wedding to Jodie - deciding that she deserves better as he hates the man he's become.

Darren's exit comes as Charlie G Hawkins recently decided to bow out from the role after seven years. Here, Charlie chats to Digital Spy about Darren's final episodes and more.

We've just seen Darren cheat on Jodie with Lauren. Why has he made such a bad decision?
"He's a doughnut! I think the main thing is that Darren stupidly thinks Jodie is doing the same thing with Anthony, so he's feeling down, he's suspicious and he was also drunk at the time. But what we'll see is that he's got massive regrets and it'll have massive consequences."

That all begins when Poppy finds out, doesn't it?
"Definitely. As everyone knows, Poppy's loyalties lie with Jodie - they're super best friends! Poppy wants Darren to own up straight away, because she feels that if he doesn't, she'll be lying to Jodie as well. Poppy doesn't want to see Jodie in pain, but she can't keep the secret."

Jodie and Poppy enjoy the hen night as Lauren looks on
When Poppy tells Jodie, she hears that Jodie already knows as she saw Darren and Lauren at the car lot together earlier that day. Why is Jodie carrying on as normal?
"I think Jodie is very keen for Darren to tell her himself and own up. Jodie knew all along, but she's giving Darren that chance. She still wants to be with Darren and she wants to save their relationship, but that doesn't happen…"

How difficult is it for Darren to end their relationship and leave the Square?
"It's a very difficult decision for Darren to make. The reason for it is that Darren's realised what a good girl Jodie is, so he knows that she deserves better. Darren knows that Jodie deserves someone who would never cheat on her. When he finds out that she already knew anyway, that just shows what a better person she is, because she's so willing to forgive. But Darren can't live with what he's done."

Charlie G Hawkins and Joe Swash from EastEnders
On a happier note, how did you feel when you heard that Joe Swash would be back for your final episodes?
"I was delighted to have Joe back. When I first heard that they wanted to bring Joe back for my last couple of episodes, I was chuffed! I look up to Joe and he's a great person to have on set - he's great company. I started with Joe and I finished with Joe, so that was quite a nice touch. Also, it was down to Joe's success that EastEnders decided to build a family around him, so I owe a lot to him and I'm thankful to Joe for that."

We see some nice scenes between Darren and Heather before he leaves, don't we?
"Yes, there's a couple of scenes between them. They're not massive scenes, but they're quite sweet and touching. Darren says that he wants the best for Heather and George, and he thanks her for everything. He explains that George is his number one priority, but he knows that he's in the safest hands with Heather. Darren knows that Heather will care for George and look after him."

Are there any other emotional goodbye scenes?
"There's quite a nice goodbye with Darren and Tamwar. That's quite sweet and nice. Tamwar is the only one who Darren really confides in before he leaves."

After so long at EastEnders, why did you decide to leave the show?
"It's a good question! I just wanted to have some new experiences, take on some fresh challenges and see what else is out there. It was a tremendously hard decision to make, because I love EastEnders and the people here are absolutely fantastic. I enjoyed coming to work every day and I loved being part of this team, so it was a hard decision to make but the support that I got was brilliant."

Lauren visits Darren on the morning of the wedding
Did you feel emotional on your last day?
"Yes, it was quite emotional. I was quite sad to say goodbye to everyone, but it was more a case of saying goodbye to working with them, because I'm still going to see them all. And who knows, hopefully I'll work with them again at some point. I was more sad to say goodbye to the Square and do my last scenes on it, because I've been on that Square for so long - since I was 12!"

Did you have a leaving party with the cast and crew?
"Well, they said a few words after I filmed my last scene on set - everyone was there. After that we went to the bar, so I didn't have a party as such but we did something at work and it was quite nice because everyone turned up. It was really good - they sent me off well!"

Is there anyone in particular from the cast who you're hoping to stay in touch with?
"I'm hoping to stay in touch with quite a few of them - and I do. I've been gone for a few weeks now, but I still speak to them all the time. From the people who have left before, I still speak to Joe Swash, Kara Tointon and Neil McDermott, while from the current cast, I've been speaking to people like Himesh Patel and Jacqueline Jossa. It's really nice."

What's next for you - are you hoping to do some auditioning or are you having a break?
"A bit of both! I'm looking forward to seeing what comes up, so we'll see what happens. It's quite nice to stroll along at the minute and enjoy a bit of free time."

Would you consider a return to EastEnders one day?
"Who knows? Never say never. All I can say is that I love the show tremendously, but it's always getting bigger and better and evolving. There might not be space for Darren, but we'll see!"

> Read extra bonus bits from EastEnders star Charlie G Hawkins in Soap Scoop Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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