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A chat with Stevie from 'EastEnders: E20'

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Eastenders E20: Stephanie 'Stevie' Dickinson played by Amanda Fairbank-Hynes

© BBC

As the launch of the second series of EastEnders: E20 draws closer, DS will be publishing interviews with each of the four new cast members in the coming days. First up is Amanda Fairbank-Hynes, who plays quirky university student Stephanie 'Stevie' Dickinson. After boyfriend trouble leaves Stevie heartbroken and struggling to pay the rent, she's thrilled when streetdancer Asher arrives on her doorstep looking for a room. But how will she feel when she meets the people he's brought with him? Amanda recently had a quick chat with us and revealed more.

How would you describe the character of Stevie?
"I saw Stevie as creative, empathetic and a complete daydreamer. She often lacks common sense; for example, when Sol asks her for an Oyster at Walford East tube, she replies that she's allergic to shellfish! But she can also surprise people with bursts of assertiveness and intelligence. Stevie sees the good in everyone, and doesn't understand why people can be cruel to her if all she wants to do is love and look after them."

It sounds like Stevie could be the odd one out in the group - does she get along with Asher, Solomon and Naz?
"Stevie's the type of person who thinks a stranger is a friend she hasn't met yet, so she forms really quick attachments to Asher and Sol, and an especially close bond to Naz. Her quirkiness and forward nature initially scares them quite a bit, but they soon warm to her when they realise she's lovely as well as eccentric!"

What kind of a journey does Stevie go on over the course of the series?
"Stevie starts the series feeling alone and lost, as well as being totally naïve, which tends to be an invitation for people to take advantage of her kind nature. Sol, Naz and Asher inform her about the real world and help her harden up just enough to survive in Albert Square! She also starts to see the others as the family she's always wanted."

Roxanne McKee plays the new partner of Stevie's ex-boyfriend on the show. Did you enjoy working with her?
"I really enjoyed working with Roxanne. She's really funny as well as being a really talented actress, and we were told off a couple of times for laughing a bit too much on set!"

Did you receive any advice or guidance from Roxanne, given that she has a lot of soap experience thanks to Hollyoaks?
"I did have questions for Roxanne about what it was like working on a soap, as I hadn't had experience of doing so before E20, and she was always really generous in answering questions and recalling her own experiences."

How does E20 compare to projects that you've worked on in the past?
"I've worked as an actor since I was 18, but E20 was a completely new experience to me. It's shot in an incredibly short amount of time, which requires a lot of stamina from everyone on set and loads of scenes for the actors to learn every night - usually when we were shattered after a day's filming!"

Did you enjoy working with the other three main cast members?
"I found Heshima, Emaa and Tosin so much fun to work with, and we all bonded really fast. It was also amazing to see that even though it was Emaa and Tosin's first acting job, they immediately took everything in their stride, and seemed far less nervous than everyone else on the first day!"

Now that filming on E20 is over, what's next for you?
"I'm working on a film called One Day next, which is an adaptation of one of my favourite books, so I'm really excited about that! At some point, I'd really like to do something on stage as I haven't done any theatre since being at drama school, but I'm happy to work on any project with a great script, whether the part's big or small!"

The second series of EastEnders: E20 launches on Tuesday, September 7 at 8pm, with the second episode following on Wednesday, September 8 at the same time. After that, new episodes will become available for viewing on the show's official site every Tuesday and Thursday at 8pm, while 30-minute omnibus editions will be screened on BBC Three on Monday nights.

> Meet the new EastEnders: E20 cast
> A chat with E20 producer Deborah Sathe
> Emer Kenny talks EastEnders: E20

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