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A chat with Solomon from 'EastEnders: E20'

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Eastenders E20: Solomon Levi played by Tosin Cole

© BBC

In our latest EastEnders: E20 cast member interview, Tosin Cole tells all about playing Solomon Levi, the shy younger brother of street dancer Asher. After being looked after by his older sibling for most of his life, E20 sees Solomon searching for an identity of his own. Will his budding relationship with new flatmate Naz give him a chance of happiness? Our chat with Tosin follows below…

How would you describe the character of Solomon?
"I would say that Solomon is quite shy and very thoughtful. He relies on his brother a lot as he's not very independent. He's very soft and he gets hurt quite easily."

The brotherly relationship between Solomon and Asher sounds like it's going to be a big part of the show - can you tell us a bit more about that?
"Well, as it's a brotherly relationship they do go through some ups and downs! But Solomon completely looks up to Asher - he needs Asher around him and Asher is always looking out for him, trying to provide for him and making sure that he's alright."

Do things change between them as the series continues?
"Yes, as it progresses, there are stages where Solomon needs to be independent and Asher is doing his own thing. Solomon needs to get that independence and not rely on Asher as much as he has done. We also see how the two brothers fall out and how they come back together."

There's a bit of a romance between Solomon and Naz in the series - what is it that attracts Solomon to her?
"I think Solomon is really attracted to Naz because she's so different. He hasn't seen a girl like her - she's so out there, so confident and so sassy. It's interesting because Solomon is actually the complete opposite to that - so she likes the fact that she hasn't met a boy like him before."

What kind of a journey does Solomon go on over the course of the series?
"You definitely see him develop and he does go through some serious changes. You see changes in the way he reacts to people around him and different situations. I won't say exactly how that happens, but he does become more confident and he knows how to deal with things better."

You've done theatre work in the past, including working on a modern adaptation of Julius Caesar. How did working on E20 compare?
"It was similar in some ways, but with theatre, the main difference is that you have to give a lot more in terms of performance. When you're in front of the camera, you have to tone it down a lot more. But as long as you know what you're doing in terms of acting, it comes naturally and it's not too much of a change."

Did you watch the first series of E20?
"I watched the whole series a couple of weeks before going to the audition so that I was fully prepared for it. But I watch EastEnders quite a lot - I'm a big fan of the show, and especially of the Mitchells!"

Was there anyone in particular at EastEnders who was there to give advice or support to you during filming?
"The cast were really supportive, but Deborath Sathe who produced the show was also really amazing, and so was the director Michael Keillor. I could name the whole team because everyone just made us feel really welcome and comfortable."

Given how successful the first series of E20 was, did you feel any pressure working on the second run?
"Well, because of the storylines and everything involved, I think the new series will do well. It has a real rawness to it because of the street vibe. We're also bringing something new to Albert Square. Obviously EastEnders is a big brand, but when you can bring something new to that, I think it can be very likeable. Series one had brilliant viewing figures and we all hope series two will continue to have a fantastic following and be just as successful."

What's next for you?
"I do have another project coming up as I'll soon be appearing in another BBC online drama, The Cut. In the future, I'd love to do a film or a really good sitcom - I'd love to do some comedy stuff. Hopefully that's what my future will hold!"

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
> A chat with Stevie from EastEnders: E20
> A chat with Asher from EastEnders: E20

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