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'EastEnders' Danielle Harold teases Lola baby arrival - interview

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Danielle Harold as Lola Pearce in EastEnders

© BBC

EastEnders teenager Lola Pearce has a life-changing moment ahead next week as she gives birth to a healthy baby girl.

Lola welcomes her daughter Lexi into the world as part of the special live scenes on the way in the BBC soap's big Olympic episodes. The live broadcast will also see Lola's grandfather Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick) carrying the Olympic torch through Albert Square.

Digital Spy recently chatted to Danielle Harold, who plays Lola, to hear about the biggest challenge of her time at EastEnders to date.

Are you nervous about playing such a big role in the live broadcast?
"I'm really, really nervous! It's very scary!"

Have you had a long time to prepare for this challenge?
"I've known about it for a while, so the nerves have been building for ages now! As I'm chatting to you, we've literally just had the script and it's still just a draft, so we've only recently found out what we're going to be doing in the live scenes. We haven't started rehearsals yet, but we're getting two days to rehearse for them."

Even though it's nerve-wracking, are you pleased that Lola and Billy have been chosen to take centre stage in this episode?
"Yeah, I really appreciate that they've given me the opportunity, especially considering that I haven't been here at EastEnders for that long. It's really nice that they've trusted me with it, so hopefully I'll do it justice! It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll go well."

Has Perry been offering you any good advice?
"Well, we've both been really nervous and saying how we've been having nightmares about the whole thing! Perry has said that he's had a nightmare that he's going to drop the Olympic torch!

"But Perry is brilliant and he keeps saying, 'It'll be really fun and it'll be over before you know it'. So he's been a really great support."

Are your fellow cast members slightly envious that you're getting this opportunity, or are they glad it isn't them having to do it?!
"It's a bit of both! (Laughs) There's been a few people saying, 'Thank God I don't have to do it!' But they've all been really supportive, nice and encouraging about the whole thing."

Are you interested in the Olympics in real life?
"To be honest, I wasn't until I found out about this storyline. When I was told that we were doing an Olympic episode, I found out more about the Games and it's made me really quite interested in it all now! I've seen the torch and stuff like that, so I'm looking forward to it."

Lola in labour in EastEnders

© BBC



How have you been preparing for the birth scene?
"I've been asking loads of women for advice, including my mum. Everyone has just said, 'It's the worst pain you can ever imagine!' Because I haven't got children, it's quite difficult for me to imagine what that's like.

"It's a hard thing to do because you don't want to overdo the scene or make it look really fake. So as well as asking people, I've been watching One Born Every Minute, which has definitely put me off having kids! I certainly won't be having a baby myself anytime soon!"

Do you think Lola will be a good mum?
"I think Lola is really going to step up to the mark once her baby is born. I think she'll struggle at first when she's getting used to everything, but I think she's going to be a good mum."

Does that mean it'll be happy families with Lola, Billy and the baby?
"Well, this is EastEnders! It would be nice to have a happy family, but I'm guessing it won't be!"

Could Lola and Jay ever have a future?
"I think Jay's too focused on Abi. I actually don't even think that Lola really likes him that much - she's just latching on to someone to help her with the baby, so she doesn't have to be on her own. It's not a deep love, it's just a flirty friendship."

If Lola settled down, would you miss playing her rebellious scenes?
"Yeah, I actually hope that she doesn't settle down because I really like that she can be so crazy - it's really fun to play. You get to do stuff that you could never do in real life without getting into trouble, like smashing up a car!"

Lola with her new baby in EastEnders

© BBC



How have you found your first year at EastEnders?
"It's been amazing - I've had the best year and it's gone so, so quickly. I remember my first day clear as anything, so I can't believe that I've been here for a year.

"I realised the other day that it had been a year to the day, and I was really surprised because it's gone so fast. It's been amazing getting to know everyone, too - I know most people here now really well and I've got some good friendships."

Were you pleased to get such big stories straight away?
"I was, but it was difficult when I first came in as I had such a big part, and I was just really nervous. Looking back on it now, I'm quite critical of my performances so it's nice to see myself improving as time goes on and learning so much from EastEnders as well.

"They've got such a good support team here - everyone's really helpful. You can do workshops and there's always people to speak to if you want to learn something new. It's brilliant as they've got really good people here to help."

Was acting always a big ambition for you?
"I've always wanted to act ever since I can remember. I was always dressing up and putting on plays for my friends and stuff like that!

"I didn't really do well in school and when I left, I was working as a waitress, but then it all happened really quickly. I left to do the documentary Jamie's Dream School and then I got the opportunity to audition for EastEnders. I was lucky enough to get the part, so it was a really life-changing year for me."

> 'EastEnders' Billy Mitchell to carry Olympic torch through Square
> Read more 'EastEnders' spoilers and news

EastEnders' Olympic episodes air on Monday, July 23 at 8pm and 9pm on BBC One. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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