With Lee Carter’s revelation about what he saw on the night of Lucy Beale’s death, suspicion has unexpectedly fallen on Billy Mitchell. But could he be Lucy’s killer? Actor Perry Fenwick shares his thoughts on this latest plot twist.
When Lee Carter turns up on Billy’s doorstep, does his world crumble?
Yes, it’s so out of the blue. The ironic thing with the Lucy stuff from an acting point of view is it’s the first time ever in EastEnders where there’s lots of stuff that’s happened off screen that we haven’t shot. When Lee turns up, the pressure’s really on - and I’m doing a lot of things and I don’t know why.
It’s very odd and confusing but good fun because normally when you get a script if it screams out to you that’s it’s out of character - we all know our characters better than anyone - you will flag that up. Whereas with this stuff I just have to play it. It could be a red herring or it could be something significant, but who knows? I did every scene once as Billy, completely innocent of anything - and then really dark. I haven’t done that since I first came into the show. There’s a line in a script where it’s a “doof doof” and it says this is not the Billy we know and love, which is really dark.
Has it been enjoyable playing the darker side of Billy again?
Yes, it’s such an interesting storyline and nice to be thrown into it. The new generation will say Billy would never do that, but the long-term viewers of the show will remember when he first came into the show; he’d been in prison and done bad things. He’s cleaned up his act, but what he gives me as an actor is that you can go “it’s not impossible,” which is interesting to play.
Do you believe Billy is as innocent as he’s protesting?
You can’t rule him out for the murder, even if you think someone is more obvious. I’m awaiting the next scripts; were all playing detective ourselves, especially with your own character. I don’t think Billy would do that for a bit of fish and a part time job - he’s not going to kill someone for that alone. But I’m interested to see.
One minute I’m being good Billy and next minute I’m being bad Billy! It keeps me on my toes. All I can do is what they are putting in front of me and act it the best way that I can. I don’t really know if he is or not.
Who do you think killed Lucy?
I don’t know! It’s interesting, because even before she was killed the powers that be were putting in stuff that as a cast we didn’t know. If you start writing it down, which is exactly what they want you to do, everyone has a reason. Everyone’s a suspect, but obviously some people more than others.
In that respect it could be Billy, but that’s the beauty of it. When we’re doing a scene in The Queen Vic and someone’s got to look a bit cagey, we’re taking bets on each other. It’s challenging to act, as you have to do everything in an ambiguous way because you can’t be too hard down one side and too soft down another. It’s keeping us all guessing.
How will you feel if it is Billy that killed Lucy?
Well, I will be out of a job! He might get away with it, but I think Janine is the only one who can get away with that - she’s Teflon Janine - nothing sticks on her! I don’t know… that’s an interesting question. It depends how it all goes.
I’ve been playing Billy for 16 years now and I personally don’t think he’s got it - in him, but who knows? If someone cracks, if someone gets desperate enough, it could happen -that’s how murders happen. It’s a build-up of stuff and then they lash out. He would be really, really, silly Billy if he had.