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'EastEnders' Tameka Empson talks Kim Fox's online spinoff - interview

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Inside Soap Awards 2012 - Winners: Tameka Empson

© PA Images / Ian West/PA Wire

EastEnders fans get a chance to see more of Kim Fox's daily life over the next few weeks as she stars in her own online spinoff The B&B.

The internet mini-episodes take the form of a reality-documentary focusing on Kim's business, and the various mishaps she faces as she strives to take it to the next level.

Tameka Empson, who plays Kim, has penned the scripts for the project herself, and the first episode will go live on the official EastEnders website today (October 12).

Digital Spy recently caught up with Tameka to hear more about the online specials.

How did the idea for the B&B spinoff come about?
"It was quite a while ago now! I was on set one day and I thought that Kimberley's Palace could be used a bit more. I thought it'd be a nice idea to have a lot more people stay over. But obviously the B&B is on the Square and the regular characters have their own homes, so why would they stay there?

"So I had an idea of showing what it's like behind the scenes at Kim's Palace. At the time, Bryan Kirkwood was here as executive producer, and I had a word with him because I'd heard that they were going to burn down the B&B. I thought, 'Oh God, I'm going to be homeless!'

"Luckily for all of us, though, the B&B was only going to be out of action for a short while and it was refurbished. After that, Lorraine Newman came in as executive producer and I told her that I'd really love to do this. She agreed and the web team were up for it too, so it all went from there."

How does it feel to get your own spinoff?
"I feel very honoured and lucky. I can't think of all the words that I want to say about it! It's lovely for EastEnders to invest in me, and hopefully I've done it justice. It's quite funny because it's a mock documentary, so I'm hoping that people will get what it's all about and enjoy it."

You've written the scripts yourself, but did EastEnders give you a firm idea of what they wanted to see?
"I worked on it with the web team. I had big ideas for it - I wanted to do a half-hour show! They said it could only be a few minutes so I thought, 'A few minutes?! Do me a favour!' (Laughs.)

"So I went away, wrote the first script and they loved it, but it was far too long. After that, the web team were quite instrumental in how I would edit it down. They were very good to be on board to hone it in, but make sure we kept all the jokes in."

Tameka Empson as Kim Fox in EastEnders

© BBC

Kim and Denise make amends.

© BBC



Was it a challenge to take on this extra project?
"When I first started, I wasn't working on the main show as much, but as I got into it, my work at EastEnders caught up with me. It started out okay, but then it got a bit tough with working on EastEnders, learning lines, writing and editing. So by the end of it I was like, 'I'm due a holiday!'

"But I really enjoyed the experience, and I learned a lot doing it. I learned how the web team works, what works and what doesn't work - because it's a very different discipline to writing for television or stage.

"It's still EastEnders, but at the same time it's going to be its own show. It's a standalone thing and Kim is showing how to run a successful business. She thinks that she's a bit like Hilary Devey, but she would give Hilary Devey a run for her money! It's a bit of Dragons' Den, a bit of The Apprentice and The Hotel Inspector all rolled into one."

Was there any temptation to give yourself all the best lines?
"No, I don't really write like that - I really like to share and for us all to bounce off each other. But because of scheduling with the main show, it's been quite hard to get other characters involved.

"Denise is part of the show too, but scheduling was one of the restraints that I had - so a lot of it is Kim talking straight to camera and to the audience. It was enjoyable, but a real learning curve doing this."

Are you nervous about the fans seeing it?
"Beforehand I was really excited and confident that the fans are going to love it, but now it's coming up to the release, I'm slightly nervous! I'm hoping that people will enjoy it. I love playing Kim and the viewers like her, so hopefully I won't disappoint."

When it comes to the main show, Chucky Venn recently said that he wouldn't be surprised if Ray ever cheated on Kim. Do you think he could stray?
"Well, when it comes to the Kat storyline, I was thinking that it would be handbags and nails at dawn with Kim and Kat if Ray turned out to be her lover. But it turned out that it wasn't him, which was lovely.

"If he was to cheat on Kim with someone else, I'm not sure how that would pan out. As far as Kim is concerned, she's learned a lot from her relationship with Ray - especially dealing with his daughter Sasha. So I think that would really hurt her if he went on to have an affair. That wouldn't go down too nicely!"

Ray is furious that Kim lied about Sasha's work experience placement.

© BBC

Sasha flees Heather's house and runs to find Ray.

© BBC



How would Kim react if she found out about Denise and Fatboy becoming an item?
"I think she would be shocked! But at the same time, she'd probably give her a pat on the back and say, 'You go girl!' Kim wants her sister to be happy, and we haven't really seen that side of Denise so far.

"Kim would be happy with whoever Denise is going out with after Yusef, because that relationship wasn't so successful! Kim also likes Fatboy, so I think she'd be happy."

Who do you think Kat's lover is?
"I think it might be Jack, or maybe Derek. I'm not sure! I don't think it's Max. I think Max has learned his lesson, and there's something else going on with Max at the moment. We've seen him driving around and standing outside of a house, so I don't think it's him.

"But I honestly don't know, and to be honest with you, I don't want to know! I really want to find out like the viewers, as I love watching EastEnders."

> Read the latest 'EastEnders' spoilers and news

Episodes of The B&B will be released on the official EastEnders website each Friday for the next four weeks. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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